Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders Publishes New Book on Nigeria’s Endangered Cultural Practice – Uli (oo-li)

Dr. Sanders focuses on African artifacts, sign and symbol systems as a vital form of “communication expressions” important to human cultural communication
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Africa. The second largest and second most populous Continent in the world. Throughout history, many have been fascinated by the vast array of cultures and cultural practices of this great Continent. Hoping to share valuable insight, appreciation, and awareness of endangered African sign and symbols systems specifically Nigeria’s Uli practice, Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders publishes a new book, titled The Legendary Uli Women of Nigeria.
Dr. Sanders, having lived in Africa for several years, was always struck by the ancestral, socio-historical and educational aspects of certain African cultural practices, especially languages, artifacts, and sign and symbol systems from the Ovahimba in Namibia and Pygmies in Congo, to the Horom, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, and Fulani of Nigeria. Her experiences on the Continent made her appreciate each and every culture and “its information systems,” which in the end she called “communication expressions.” “I truly believe that in order to understand and appreciate someone or another nation, one has to begin to respect and learn about their culture or their system – as everything is a system, and a perspective on life and the world we live in together,” states Sanders. “Hence, human cultural communication (one of lectures that I give on FEEEDS® issues), I believe is how nations and people can better understand each other.”
The book follows eight extraordinary Nigerian women in the December phase of their lives as they try to preserve the meanings of their endangered sign, symbol, and motif system called Uli. Uli is an acknowledgement of their Igbo history, culture and ancestors. Sanders agrees with others scholars who posit that non-text, non-oral forms of communication expressions such as Nigeria’s Uli, and other sign and symbol systems throughout the world, particularly in Africa, are just as important or “viable” as the written word and their meanings should be respected and preserved. Endangered cultural practices, like Uli, are just as important to protect as endangered languages as a symbiotic relationship exists between the two.
The Legendary Uli Women of Nigeria is a uniquely groundbreaking work. It does not discuss, or view African signs and symbols as art or designs for contemporary clothes or jewelry, but stresses that they communicate. It also argues that world signs and symbol systems like Uli should be included as an area of study within the communication and information system academic field, which she recommends be called “communication expressions” since these systems do communicate the socio-historical aspects of a culture.


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