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How Liberians wrote before standard western education?



It is often said “the Vai man(tribe) is lazy and Gbandi man(tribe) is stingy. Yet these rumors are not proven.

However, the positives endeavors of these ethnic groups and others are hardly mentioned. For example, how the Kru tribe are excellent fisherman. How the the Westerners of Liberia invented the country cloth machine and finally how the Vai invented the second oldest form of writing system in West Africa.

Yes, you heard me right. The Vai script is one of the most valuable and historical pieces in West African History. Being valuable it is very hard to come by. You can find the original copies of this script in only two historical places of the world. The British Museum and the Liberian Museum.

Let’s talk about this tourist magnet a little. The Vai Script was invented by Momolu Duwalu Bukele of Jondu now Grand Cape Mount County. It was invented in the 1830s, although other sources claims it was invented as far as 1819. This was way before the Liberia College now University of Liberia was founded (1851), which was the first institution of higher learning in the country.

The Vai script is regarded as one of the two most successful indigenous scripts in West Africa, and one of the few in Africa. After Momolu created this syllabary, he and his supporters setup schools to teach this system. These men were non-literate speakers of the Mande (Vai) language, yet they accomplish something this phenomenal.

This superb incident is just a reminder of how powerful Liberians were, are and will always be. There are thousands of young intellectual minds out there that are on the path of transforming Africa’s oldest independent republic for the better. It is time you rise from where ever you are and be part of another historical movement. Visit, Invest in and Enjoy this sweet land of liberty.

You can visit the Liberian Museum for more detailed information.

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