In 2001, BBC News reported that Kaa Bully Nimaga, a Gambian art dealer, had invented a 28-letter script for the Soninke language, which he called Soni and described as “my gift from God.”
“With no formal education of his own, Mr Nimaga plans to set up a school where Gambians can learn for free.”
Four years later, The Independent of Gambia announced: “The Director of Nimaga African Arts Collections and the inventor of Soni Alphabet, Mr. Kaa Bully Nimaga, disclosed his plan to publish a book titled Soni Alphabet. He said he had gone far in developing the alphabet into words and sentences since August 28th 1998 and an increasing number of people are learning the alphabet.
“Mr. Nimaga made this disclosure during an interview with The Independent at his shop along Kairaba Avenue near Latrikunda Upper Basic School. He pointed out that he had put forward his idea of setting up a school in his native village of Kumbija in Upper River Division. This, according, to him will allow him teach more people.”
We would dearly love to hear from anyone who has first-hand knowledge of the current status of this script. Nimaga’s Instagram account is still active, but he has not posted about his alphabet since 2016.
13.5438° N, 15.4343° W