The history of Nsibidi is a fascinating one.
Before colonization, the people of the Northern Cross River in Nigeria had developed a unique form of ideographic writing called Nsibidi. The primitive secret writing spread throughout the region and was adopted by other cultures and art forms, such as the Igbo uri or uli graphic design.
Nsibidi was described in the colonial period as a way of passing messages and was "cut or painted on split palm stems". Although there are hundreds of nsibidi symbols, some authors postulated that they were taught to choose secret groups exuding power and authority. Legend even has it that the writings were taught by baboons.
Many of the signs are about love affairs; those about warfare and the sacred are kept hidden.
Nsibidi was also exported to Caribbean islands such as Cuba, Jamaica, Venezuela, and Haiti as part of the transatlantic slave trade. The colonial emphasis on Western education and Christian conversation, which claim that Nsibidi is demonic and should not be encouraged, has resulted in a significant decline in appreciation and use of this ancient script.