The Bamum syllabary was invented in 1896 by King Ibrahim Njoya
of the Bamum. The king also collected numerous manuscripts containing
the history of his people, and used his script to compile a pharmacopoeia,
to design a calendar, and to keep records and for law. He also built schools,
libraries and set up a printing press.
The first version of the script including 465 symbols, but King Njoya
simplified a number of time until it included 73 syllablic signs and 10
numerals. Tone indicators can be added to the signs if necessary.
After part of Cameroon came under French control in 1919, the libraries and
the printing press were destroyed, many of the books in the Bamum script
were destroyed, and the teaching of the script in schools was banned.
After Cameroon became independent in 1960, Nyoja's son and heir, Seidou Njimoluh,
collected such Bamum manuscripts and other materials that survived and put them
in his father's museum.
Today the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project is trying to revive the Bamum
script by teaching it to young people.
The Bamum language (Shüpamom) is a Bantoid language spoken in
Cameroon by about 200,000 people. It is also known as Bamoun in French.
Type of writing system: syllabary
Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines
Used to write: Bamum
To write some Bamum syllables combinations of syllable signs are used