In the broadest sense, lontara’ is an alphabet and script developed and used by the Bugis-Makassar in the past as a system of writing. As a script, lontara’ is also a medium for keeping knowledge, recording historical and personal events (diary), and genealogy of the royal family. One of its most prominent uses is in La Galigo, a longest epoch in the world that tells the stories of the origin and journeys of the Bugis in six generations.

Manuscripts that use the lontara’ alphabet are now stored and scattered in various places, from South Sulawesi, Indonesia, to Leiden, Netherlands. Some are available in print and some can be accessed in digital form. To be able to access these manuscripts, it is necessary to have skills to read the lontara’ script—especially because the script does not recognize spaces and punctuation. Workshop Lontara’ for Beginners can finally be an entry point to study the dynamics of social history, culture, and politics in South Sulawesi.

Workshop Lontara’ for Beginners is also an effort to add new generations of lontara’ readers whose figures are decreasing day by day—it is very difficult to find generations who were born later who are able to read and understand the contents of lontara’ texts. Beyond that, this workshop is expected to encourage new initiatives that are able to produce knowledge from lontara’ manuscripts which will be studied later. Considering that there are various types of lontara’ in South Sulawesi, this workshop will only focus on the lontara’ script written in Bugis language, since the Bugis script is widely used in lontara’ texts. As the name suggests, this workshop is aimed for beginners. This means that after the workshop is closed, the participants do not immediately master and be able to read lontara’, because this workshop is intended to be the first step for further journey.


  • To understand Bugis and Makassar cosmology and the dynamics of history, social, and politics in South Sulawesi through the lens of lontara’.
  • To generate a new initiative and study group who will be able to produce knowledge and creative works in various media inspired by the lontara’.
  • To identify and recognize the types of lontara’ script that exist in South Sulawesi and the changes in the form of the script.
  • To identify and recognize the basic strategies for reading lontara script (recognizing letters, words, and reading sentences).
  • To train how to write lontara’ alphabet.

Time & Date

  • The workshop will be held in seven days with hybrid method:
  • 5 meetings will be on 16, 18, 20, 23, 25 January (Online via Zoom), from 19:30 to 21:00 WITA (Central Indonesian Time).
  • 2 last meetings will be on 28-19 January at Riwanua, Perumahan Dosen Unhas Blok H/14, Tamalanrea, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia from 14:00 to 16:30 WITA.

The workshop will be conducted bilingually (Indonesia/English) with simultaneous translation. Dr. Andi M. Akhmar, a lecturer in Department of Bugis Makassar Literature in the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Hasanuddin, will be the instructor of the workshop. Trained as a philologist for more than 25 years, Andi Akhmar has published numerous books about lontara’, one of which is Islamisasi Bugis: Kajian Sastra atas La Galigo versi Bottinna I La Dewata Sibawa I We Attaweq published by Yayasan Obor Indonesia in 2018.

The Modules

Module I: Introduction to Lontara’

In this module, we will learn about the history of lontara’, its significance in social, cultural, political and historical dynamics in South Sulawesi, changes in the forms of the lontara’ script, and the various types of lontara’ alphabet and lontara’ script.

Module II: The Lontara’ Alphabet

In this module, we will learn to identify lontara’ script, especially the Bugis lontara’. More specifically, we will try to identify the alphabet in the Bugis lontara’ repertoire, while also exercising to memorize lontara’ alphabets.

Module III: The Lontara’ Words

After learning to identify the alphabets, we will move on to identifying words in the lontara script. This is important because the lontara’ script has a unique form, so that special precision and reading strategies are needed to recognize the words.

Module IV: The Lontara’ Sentences

In this module, we will learn how to read lontara’ sentences and try to understand the meaning. Special attention is given to understand where the sentences stop.

Module V: Reading Lontara’ Attoriolong

In module V, we will learn to read lontara’ attoriolong, which is about chronicles and records of important events in the kingdoms of South Sulawesi in the past. Lontara’ attoriolong is also often used as a historical source.

Module VI: Reading Lontara’ Pananrang

Lontara’ does not only record historical events in the kingdom, it also stores knowledge about good days and bad days to conduct certain activities. The latter, which is also called lontara’ pananrang, will be introduced and read in this module.

Module VII: Reading La Galigo

In the last meeting, we will discuss La Galigo as the longest epic in the world which tells the stories about the origins of Bugis in the six generations. We will also read fragments of the story of La Galigo written in lontara’ alphabet.

The Participants

  • The workshop is open to both Indonesian and international participants, as long as they have passion and interest in the social, political, culture, and history of South Sulawesi.
  • The participants should commit to attend all the modules, read the workshop materials, and finish the given exercise/task.
  • Upon completing the workshop, the participants should join study group that focus on lontara’ which will be initiated by Riwanua.
  • There are no age restrictions to join the workshop.
  • The workshop is limited to only 20


  • Fill in your personal data and answer a personal statement of 50-100 words (why are you interested in joining this workshop?) at the following link:
  • The registration is closed on January 10, 2022.
  • The selected participants will be contacted by Riwanua on January 12nd, 2022.
  • The selected participants should download Bugis-Indonesia dictionary and the list of lontara’ alphabets at the following link:

Q n A

Shoud I pay for the workshop?

No, this workshop is entirely free.

Is this workshop open for those who live outside Makassar?

Yes, this workshop is open for everyone who wishes to join. Unfortunately, we are not able to support your transportation cost if you are coming from outside of Makassar. But, we can provide accommodation in Riwanua during the workshop (two rooms with bed for 2-3 people coming from outside of Makassar).

Should I be able to speak Bugis language to join the workshop?

Because this workshop is for beginners, the ability to speak Bugis language is not mandatory. We provide a Bugis-Indonesia dictionary (in pdf format and in application format) for the participants who wish to learn.

What do I need to prepare?

Because this workshop is conducted in a hybrid method, you need to prepare a computer/mobile device that can be used to take part in the Zoom meeting. You also need pen and paper to practice writing the lontara’.

What does Riwanua prepare?

Riwanua provides drinks and meals during the offline workshop. We also provide space for working and hanging out that can be used by the participants before and after the workshop. For those whose language is not bahasa Indonesia, we offer a simultaneous translation from Indonesia to English during the workshop.

How to contact us?

For further information, contact us via Instagram (@riwanua), Facebook (@Riwanua), email  (, or WhatsApp (+6287775756866).