Sounds, Symbols, and Scripts of African Sexuality: An Analysis of Language Dynamics in Traditional Ugep, Southern Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Mass Communication


The project investigates the nature of a largely neglected African traditional communication structure. It identifies the language used in grassroots sexuality communication and management in Ugep, Nigeria, and argues for existing coded verbal and nonverbal techniques. However, little is known about the language or cultural vocabulary that reveals cultural significance. Assessment of sounds, symbols, and scripts presents stylistic features conveying information that emphasize cultural models, ideas, and emotions. Through qualitative methodology, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and unobtrusive observation, the study examines the phenomenon, with particular focus on the role of the “leboku” festival in sexuality information enhancement. The project highlights aspects of language that have previously been glossed over in oral historiography. The research is also meta-methodological in that findings will significantly contribute to further empirical understanding of elements and processes of sexuality language dynamics in a Nigerian society.