Solomana Kante

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Souleymane Kante or Solomana Kante (1922-1987) was an African writer and inventor of the N'Ko alphabet for the Manding languages of West Africa. N'Ko means 'I say' in all Manding languages.

Kante created N'Ko in 1949 after a night of deep meditation, in response to what he felt were beliefs that Africans were a "cultureless people", and since there was, prior to this time, no indigenous African writing system for his language. N'ko came first into use in Kankan, Guinea as a Maninka alphabet and was disseminated from there into other Manding-speaking parts of West Africa.


  • Conrad, David C. (2001). "Reconstructing Oral Tradition: Souleymane Kanté’s Approach to Writing Mande History". Mande Studies 3, 147-200.
  • Kaba, Diaka Laye (1992). "Souleymane Kanté: l’inventeur de l’alphabet N’ko". L’Educateur: Trimestriel Pédagogique des Enseignants de Guinée 11-12, 33
  • Kanté, Bourama (1996). "Souvenir de Kanté Souleymane". Somoya Sila: Journal Culturel de l'Association ICRA-N'KO 19.
  • Kanté, Souleymane (1961). "Alphabet de la langue N’ko: ‘N’ko sebesun’." In Méthode pratique d’écriture N’ko. Kankan, reprinted by Mamady Keita (1995), Siguiri.
  • Vydrine, Valentin, ed. (2001). "Lettres de Souleymane Kanté et Maurice Houis". Mande Studies 3, 133-146.