Introducing the Mandla Dictionary
The natural evolution of African writing systems has been greatly suppressed by colonization and slavery.
A number of once thriving ancient African writing systems such as Tifinagh, Nsibidi, the Kassena logograms, Meroitic, and others have fallen into disuse.
More recently, modern African scripts such as, Bamum, Adlam, Osmanya, and N'ko, have been outright banned by the governments of the countries where the languages these scripts were used to write were spoken, with the local officials preferring to promote the use of the latin script.
Bamum for example was written with a syllabic script known as the Bamum Syllabary, which was invented by King Ibrahim Njoya in 1896. After Cameroon became a French colony in 1919, the teaching of this script in schools was banned, and many books and other materials, as well as the printing press set up by King Njoya, were destroyed.
At Mandla our goal has always been to tell the authentic African story. As such, it is important for us to promote the use of indigenous scripts for writing African languages. For the last month we have been hard at work building our newest product, the Mandla dictionary.
The Mandla dictionary (https://dictionary.mandla.ai) is the first multi lingual, multi dialectal, multi scriptual image and audio-supported online parallel dictionary for African languages. The crowd-sourced dictionary is completely free and the data is open-source.
The Mandla dictionary features definitions in each language, in both native and latin scripts, as well as in English. While this is just the beginning, we hope to by the end of 2022 have the largest existing dictionary dataset for every major African language with transliterations in N'ko script as well as each language's native script.
Literate in an African language? Sign up today at https://dictionary.mandla.ai to start contributing words or audio files. Learning an African language? No more need to scour through obscure PDFs, just use our online dictionary! Interested in providing transliterations but not fluent in other scripts? You can use our input and conversion tools at (https://keyboards.mandla.ai) to get started!