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Readable Words with African Flavor from Margaret Shepherd, Author of Learn World Calligraphy


The ABC’s are used creatively throughout Africa. They form the Swahili words that unite nations along the eastern coast, they transliterate dozens of local African languages, and they communicate in English or French. By modifying the Roman letter shapes, written words can express African art through bold colors, improvised forms, and strong symbols.

To inspire letter artists, fabric artists, and calligraphers, Margaret Shepherd has created several evocative African alphabets that are featured in the first chapter of her new book, Learn World Calligraphy; Discover African, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, Thai calligraphy, and beyond. The “Virtual Swahili” alphabet template offered here and on her website derives from authentic local writing systems. It lets you assemble paper collages, appliqué initials, piece quilts, stitch names, and design many other projects that combine Roman readability with authentic African visual flavor.

Here are some Swahili words to use in your letter projects:

“hongera” congratulations
“ujinga” wisdom
“amandla” we shall overcome
“furah” joy
“nakupenda” I love you
“oxolu” peace
“thamani mtoto” precious baby
“ndio” yes
“chakula ni maisha” food is life
“kupika” the cook
“pamoja” together

You can find more ideas at free translation sites on the Web, such as Google Translate.

Virtual Swahili Alphabet Template From Margaret Shepherd, author of Learn World Calligraphy(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();



About the Book
Learn World Calligraphy
Discover African, Arabic, Chinese, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Russian, Thai, Tibetan Calligraphy, and Beyond
Written by Margaret Shepherd
Category: Art - Calligraphy
Format: Paperback, 192 pages
On Sale: August 23, 2011
Price: $24.99
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