Every racist, bigot always say "Africans never wrote" and use the term sub-Saharan to indirectly refer to race. But is this true? Far from it. A lot of societies in Africa did not write and did not develop a script or alphabet, but a few did, in very ancient times.
Most of the world's modern day alphabets in Europe and Asia can be traced to Egyptian Hieroglyphs via the proto-siniatic script, a derivative of Hieroglyphs. This include Arabic, Latin, Greek, Brahmi.
There were two derivative of the Proto-Siniatic Script, Phoenician and South Arabian. Out of the Phoenician Alphabet, the Berber Script in the Maghreb and Greek Alphabet were derived. The Geez Script in Ethiopia/Eritrea was derived from South Arabian Sript.
Nubians when they were colonized by Egypt in 1500 BC, wrote in Hieroglyphs. The Kushite Empire wrote in Hieroglyphs. Later in her Meroitic phase, the Nubians developed their own script directly from Hieroglyphs, called the Meroitic Script. When Nubians stopped writing in Hieroglyphs and began to use their own script, their history became osbcure. Meroitic remains an undeciphered script.
The racist will persist and say "only northeast Africa wrote." Again very wrong, during the Medieval period c. 1000, writing began to spread in the Sahel and the Swahili coast. Arabic script called ajami was used to write Hausa, Mandinka, Yoruba, Songhai, Wolof, Fulani, Swahili, and others.
There is theory that because writing south of the Sahara was not widespread, that put Africans at a dis-advantage because they could not communicate long distance. This is false. Europeans were typically shocked that their presence were known ahead of time. This is largely due to the pitch drum or "talking drum", which could relay a message a 100 miles in 2 hours.
The pitch drums exploited the tonal nature of Niger-Congo languages and messages could be sent long-distance.
The talking drum-Donno.mpg-Kwame Ansah-Brew @ Frostburg State Univ.