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Igbo Symbols



Western historians often tell us that West African societies had no indigenous system of writing and that the only script that existed in Africa was Arabic, which had been introduced to Africa along with the spread of Islam. This is not true. Among certain Igbo communities, a system of ideographic writing known as "Nsibiri" exists and is employed by the Ekpe leopard society. Members of Ekpe draw and print Nsibiri ideograms on building walls and cloth (known as "Ukara") to pass along coded messages, express ideas, and record information and events. Since the script was only understood and highly-guarded by members of Ekpe, it never gained wide recognition. However, efforts are being made to study and publish the Nsibiri script.


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