By Njideka Agbo
Long before the Europeans and what is today known as the western civilization came to West Africa, the Ekoi (Ejagham) people in present-day Nigeria had developed a unique
Author, author, historian PA Talbot, who died during the time of the colonial era. and Revered JK Macgregor's in his work, Some Notes On Nsibidi likened it to an ordinary writing. “The use of Nsibidi is that of ordinary writing. I have in my possession a copy of the record of a record of a town of Enion [Enyong] taken down in it, and every detail … is most graphically described “
it has been used in Ekoi for as long as 400 CE. Its oldest archaeological evidence dates back to 2000 B.C. Nsibidi was used to decorate the skin, calabashes, sculptures, and clothing items,
Strangely, Nsibidi and the Egyptian Hieroglyphics share some characters. Like the Hieroglyphics, Nsibidi was taught to select secret groups that exuded power and authority. They were largely controlled by the arms of government, hence its exclusivity. Among them is the Ekpe Leopard Secret Society. The Ekpe, still found in present-day Abia, are often seen wearing a particular clothing during formal events. Ukara Ekpe.
In these times, Ukara Ekpe was woven in Abakiliki and inscribed with the Nsibidi logographic in some Igbo-speaking towns such as Arochukwu and Ohafia in Abia State. The impressions on the Ukara have different meanings. Asides the power symbol
Although there is no longer accepted date, scholars say it has been used in Ekoi for as long as 400 CE. Nsibidi was used to decorate the skin, calabashes, sculptures, and clothing items
Nsibidi In Igboland
According to a book, The Foundation of Igbo Studies written by Nnamdi Oraka in 1766 Igbos Igbos Igbos Igbos Igbos Alphabets Igbo Alphabets Igbo Alphabets Igbo Alphabets Igbo Alphabets Igbo Alphabets Thomas Dennis in 1900. This later morphed into the Central Igbo Alphabets started by Catholic priests in 1929, before their further transformation into the present-day Onwu Alphabets approved by Mazi Onwu alongside other Igbo scholars in 1961.
Nsibidi Outside The Shores Of Biafra
It was not until 1904 that Nsibidi caught the attention of the world after TD Maxwell noticed that it was being used in pottery and body art
In 1909, Macgregor in his work that Nsibidi has its roots in the Uguakima, Ebe or Uyanga tribes of the Igbos. According to him, this legend has been taught to the Igbos by baboons. It is believed that these creatures are gods in some societies.
However, this theory has been discarded by historians who say that the Nsibidi originated from the Ekoi people, neighbours of the Efik and Ibibio ethnic groups in Nigeria before it was adopted by the Igbos
The transatlantic slave trade was also exported to Cuba, Jamaica, Venezuela and Haiti and
Ukara Ekpe Clothing. Photo credit: Pinterest
See pictures below:
Making an ukara Cloth Ezpe: an Ezillo Igbo man draws a grid for nsibidi resist designs dyed with indigo, Ezillo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Photo: Eli Bentor. Several Igbo groups have hands in the steps of the making of ukara. The nsibidi signs can be ordered by the commissioner. pic.twitter.com/xIBCOKsA42
– Ụkpụrụ (@ukpuru) February 28, 2018
have become known as the Anaforuana writings of the Akabua and Vve symbols.
The rejection and death of Nsibidi  Not many Igbos and the Ekoi are aware of the Nsibidi. Unfortunately, there is no doubt about the existence of this problem. Asides this, much of Nsibidi is attributed to witchcraft hence its abandonment in these areas. While Anaforuana meaning “they took away our land” in the Igbo language is still embraced by the Igbo Cubans, Haiti tells a different tale. Vve, a religious symbol is now rejected by many Haitian Christians because of a lot of voodoo connotations especially as it is used as a representation of the Haitian Spirit who acts as an intermediary between the Bondye (the Supreme Creator) and humanity
Despite these arguments, it is more important than cultural roots, what Renaissance art is to Christians is what Nsibidi should be to Africans.