You’ve probably never heard of Frederic Bruly Bouabré. Artist, storyteller, philosopher and creator of his own religion, he was famous for his signature small cards and for the alphabet he created to transcribe the oral tradition of his people, the Bétés of Côte d’Ivoire.

His artistic journey started after a supernatural event. On March 11, 1948, while he was working as a bookkeeper, he had a vision: “the heavens opened up before my eyes and seven colorful suns described a circle of beauty around their mother-sun. I became Cheik Nadro, ‘he who does not forget’.”

From that day, he was propelled by a double mission: to create a new written language specific to Africa and tell the story of his people. The alphabet he created consists of 448 symbols, comparable to Egyptian hieroglyphs and transcribing all human sounds.

Bouabré firmly believed that it was easier for an African to learn and gain new knowledge when he worked within an African writing system or African language. His entire work reflected the essence of his thought: to achieve universality and unite humankind. After living a full life, he passed on January 28, 2014 at 91. He left behind his legacy for us to discover.