Another Craptacular Script

4 Apr

It turns out that Mandombe is a very seldom used script. It’s basically restricted to the Kimbanguist Church (a basically Christian religion founded by the miraculous Simon Kimbangu). Mandombe was invented in a Kinbanguist church hall, by a follower of Simon Kimbangu (Wabeladio Payi), according to a religious vision of Simon Kimbangu, so that seems pretty understandable.

But Mandombe is not unique in being a script invented by a lone nut who seems to not understand what a writing system should do, and promulgated almost solely within his own religion. Ogham also fits this criteria (although we do not know the name of the person who really invented Ogham, the Celtic god, Ogma, presumably). Ogham is craptacular. It must be written carefully. If a line is supposed to be strait and it is written too slanted, it will be misread. Often the symbols are a number of lines written across a line, so if a letter is one line strait across, signifying an A, it cannot be written right next to another letter that is three lines strait across, signifying a U, because four lines strait across means E. In fact, that is my name on the right there, written in Ogham script exactly the way a druid might carve it into a stone pillar on the boundary of my property to settle sheep grazing disputes, if druids carved Ogham in Mardi Gras colors with Adobe Illustrator. In case you can read Ogham, no my name is not Mangzuffeai. It is just that adjacent letters required to write my name fall in the same group twice, so even though FF form 6 lines to the right of the center, so do the letter LS, and the special character that is an X centered on the line, called Eabhadh, has been used to represent a K sound in some surviving examples and an EA in others. And as easily as Ogham can be misread, it is also annoying to write. If you need an I for any reason, it requires you to write 5 lines strait across. Try writing a passage in Ogham. It’s horrible. I did it once, because I wanted to fill a whole parchment with Ogham because, seriously, it’s super pretty. Every time I look at it I feel like it’s some ancient scroll handed down to me from the warrior poets of old. But the fact that E and I require 4 lines across or 5, respectively, got on my nerves pretty quickly.

Incidentally, I gave Mandombe the same test, the write my long Polish name test, and Mandombe handled it much better.

It was even possible, if annoying, to write the consonant clusters in my name. And Mandombe is also very pretty. I don’t have whole pages of text written in Mandombe characters, although I might use it as some sort of runic or alien thingie, in a RPG or something.

And this right here is the thing that I feel needs to be said. Mandombe deserves just as much if not more respect, appreciation and use as Ogham. You may be thinking, “That’s a low bar.” and you are probably right, but there are people who are really into Ogham. Ogham has an alloted unicode range. I have no idea why it has an alloted unicode range considering it is useless except for artistic purposes. But it does. I’m not saying Mandombe should have an alloted unicode range. But I am saying there should be several stylized Mandombe fonts, because this is a cool looking script that works in an interesting way. People should use it in art projects and to make things that look cool. You should own a T shirt that says something cool on it in Mandombe characters, like Makmende or something.

Bam! That’s awesome. Makmende is super cool. Thank you GIMP logo maker function.

(Quick end note. I’m a little worried that translator functions won’t catch all my Americanisms. I emailed Wabeladio Payi about my project making Mandombe fonts, and he will undoubtedly ask the browser to translate this into French. RPG = Jeu de Role. Craptacular = … I’ll have to make up a word. Merdifique. Hey that’s pretty good.)



7 Responses to “Another Craptacular Script”

  1. Misterecho 4 April 2011 at 2:38 am #

    I’ve used Ogham in a few Call of Cthulhu games set in the Celtic fringes of the UK. I love the way it looks. Obviously it’s a bit crappy to actually try to use, but I guess that’s why it was replaced with the Latin alphabet when the Christians came and educated the savages. ūüôā

    I found it was an easy language to hide along the border of a manuscript, because it looks so artistic, it’s not immediately apparent that it’s a text.

  2. BLaZ 18 April 2011 at 12:35 pm #


    I read your article on craptacular script. And was interested on how you managed to write (or type) in mandombe. I mean, what are you using?


    • Sheikh Jahbooty 19 April 2011 at 12:58 am #

      I typed it using a true type font I created, Mandombe1.tff

      Look in the right column. Over there —>

      There should be a flash widget from

      You can get the font from there.

      There are instructions for using the font here.

      If you encounter any problems, please email me at, and I will help you.

  3. Ecriture Mandombe 25 June 2011 at 3:39 am #


    Nous sommes le Centre de l’Ecriture Mandombe en France. Simon Kimbangu (1887 – 1951 ) a demand√© √† Wabeladio Payi en r√™ve, le 13 mars 1978 d’aller se laver dans la source sacr√©e √† Nkamba (RDCongo ) pour une mission qu’il allait lui donner pour l’homme noir. Puis, par vision il lui a montr√© l’√©criture Mandombe. Ce n’√©tait pas dans l’√©glise kimbanguiste. Wabeladio Payi √©tait en ce moment l√† chr√©tien catholique. Du point de vue historique, votre article est √©ronn√©e. Nous avons un livre qui relate la mani√®re dont l’√©criture Mandombe a √©t√© d√©velopp√©e : Wabeladio Payi, l’histoire de la r√©v√©lation de l’√©criture Mandombe.

    C’est par son intelligence que Wabeladio a alors invent√© l’√©criture Mandombe. L’√©criture Mandombe est une invention prot√©g√©e par un certificat d’invention au USA. Nous avons introduit un dossier de validation √† l’Unicode. Ce dossier est en instruction, puisque l’inventeur Wabeladio n’a pas encore c√©d√© ses droits au CENA (Centre d’Ecriture N√©gro Africain) et √† l’UNICODE.Si cet aspect est d√©bloqu√©, nous allons introduire vos souhaits pour que le Mandombe puisse avoir plusieurs plages pour les vari√©t√©s des polices √† venir.

    Actuellement tout ceux qui ont travaill√© pour informatis√© l’√©criture Mandombe sont enregistr√©s par nous, ici en France. Tel est le cas pour le syst√®me informatique Lundombe ( ). Nous vous invitons √† faire enregistrer votre police aupr√®s de l’Academie Mandombe ). Il suffit de nous √©crire √† l’adresse suivante : ou demander l’autorisation de diffuser votre police directement √† Wabeladio Payi qui r√©side √† Kinshasa en RDCongo ( ). C’est une proc√©dure simple √† faire mais obligatoire.

    Le fait que nous avons mit votre police sur notre facebook, c’est dire que nous sommes int√©ress√© par le d√©veloppement de cette police Mandombe et que leq disgns que vous pr√©sent√© sont utiles pour le d√©veloppement mondial de l’√©criture Mandombe.

    . Veuillez agr√©er, Monsieur, l’expression de ma haute consid√©ration.

    Président CENA/France
    Dr. ès Sciences

    émail: mandombecenafrance

    • Sheikh Jahbooty 27 June 2011 at 12:24 pm #


      Thank you for correcting factual errors on my blog. I never want to misinform anyone.

      Oh, they do have a unicode range, and see there: Their entire website is in Mandombe. Incredible!

      I don’t think one can register or patent or copyright a method of writing in the USA. So I don’t know how you could make it obligatory for hobbyists to register with the academie, but I will register. This is awesome!

      Wait, what? You have a Facebook page that links to my blog? Wow.



      Merci pour la correction des erreurs factuelles sur mon blog. Je ne veux jamais désinformer quiconque.

      Oh, ils ont une range de unicode, et voila: Leur site tout entier est en Mandombe. Incroyable!

      Je ne crois pas qu’on puisse register or patent or copyright d’une m√©thode d’√©criture aux Etats-Unis. Donc je ne sais pas comment vous pourriez rendre obligatoire pour les amateurs enregistrer avec l’Acad√©mie, mais je vais enregistrer. C’est magnifique!

      Attendez, quoi? Vous avez une page Facebook que il y a un lien vers mon blog? Wow.

      • K 25 August 2014 at 6:38 am #

        Your “post” is tremendously disrespectful and equally ignorant.

        1) “But Mandombe is not unique in being a script invented by a lone nut who seems to not understand what a writing system should do…” Wtf does that mean?? In your culture, it’s par for the course to disrespect someone or question their sanity because they do or practice something you don’t understand or are unable to master. Mandombe script is not meant for you or your Polish paradigm. It’s meant for Black people and Black languages. It is THEY who determine what the script should and shouldn’t do to serve their own purposes. NOT YOURS.

        2) Kimbanguists are not “basically christian”, just as an afro-brazilian in Candomble is not “basically christian”, nor is an afro-cuban palero “basically christian”. You know nothing of their beliefs, as an outsider, so stay in your lane.

        3) Also, Mandombe was not meant for you to just use as yet another “acquisition” for “cool t-shirts”, etc. It has an important cultural and socio-political meaning for the Bakongo people. So again, stay in your lane.


  4. Lebone Lumbu 25 January 2013 at 11:09 am #

    i still can’t leave your blog although i have other things to do. but please write me ‘Simon Kimbangu’ in mandombe. i have a label and will print it on t-shits.
    like you say, ‘that’s awesome’

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