The Bété language belongs to the Kru group of Niger-Congo languages spoken in central and western Côte d'Ivoire. Although some 600,000 Bétés live in the Côte d'Ivoire the language has no official status and all education is conducted in French. A syllabic Bété script consisting of over 400 signs was invented in 1956 by Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, a well-educated, literate Bété. Bouabré is an artist by trade and explains that his aim was to "form a specific African writing from scenes of human life” (from Bruly Bouabré's Alphabet, 2005). He made drawings based on geometric markings he noticed on small stones near a village called Bekora. He concluded that these markings were part of an ancient writing system from the area, and developed his drawings into a new Bété script. The script was exhibited in the Tate Modern, London, as part of their ‘Poetry and Dream’ display in February 2011. Frédéric Bruly Bouabré’s original drawings which led to the creation of the script are held in the Pigozzi Collection of Contemporary African Art in Geneva. The script has seen limited practical use by Bété speakers.
This script is not currently recognized by the ISO 15924 standard, but is included in ScriptSource for research purposes. If you have any information on this script, please add the information to this site. Your contributions can be a great help in refining and expanding the ISO 15924 standard. The Script Encoding Initiative is working to support the inclusion of this script in the standard, and contributions here will support their efforts.