How many characters are there in the Oduduwa Alphabets?

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Main topic: Humanities
Short answer: There are a total of 25 symbols in Odùduwà script.

Benin republic's Chief Tolúlàṣẹ Ògúntósìn created the Odùduwà alphabet, which reflects the authentic tones of Yoruba syllables. There are claims that he found the syllables engraved in an ancient altar called Orisa Olu Orogbo.[1]

Odùduwà is considered as the original script for Yoruba[edit]

Before 17th century, Yoruba was written in an Arabic script called Ajami.[2] A Latinized version of Yoruba has been prevalent in African countries since 1843. Chief Tolúlàṣẹ Ògúntósìn hopes that the native Yoruba speakers will adopt his indigenous version (Odùduwà). He believes that it was spoken by King Odùduwà, who is considered the founder of Yoruba culture.[3]

How Odùduwà is written[edit]

Odùduwà script represents the Congo-Niger Yoruba language. It is written horizontally from right to left and top to bottom. It has 25 symbols in total.[4]

Odùduwà alphabets
Odùduwà alphabets

Significance of Odùduwà[edit]

Many African linguists believe that African scripts were Latinized to enforce slavery and perpetuate colonialism. The rediscovery of original scripts intends to bring the African people back to their roots.[5]


  1. Nigerian Oduduwa Alphabet Script and Yoruba phrases (in Kazakh), 2021-09-09, retrieved 2022-10-12
  2. "African Arabic-Script Languages Title: From the 'Sacred' to the 'Profane': the Yoruba Ajami Script and the Challenges of a Standard Orthography". ResreachGate.
  3. "Oduduwa", Wikipedia, 2022-09-17, retrieved 2022-10-12
  4. "This chief hopes Yorùbá speakers adopt his newly invented 'talking alphabet'". Global Voices. 2020-03-10. Retrieved 2022-10-12.
  5. "Competing scripts: The introduction of the Roman alphabet in Africa". ResearchGate.