CULTURAL DIPLOMACY IN IBIBIO PRE-COLONIAL SOCIETY: THE COMMUNICATION PERSPECTIVE
sapientia journal, edition cover
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Keywords

bibio, Pre-Colonial, Culture, Diplomacy, Development.

Abstract

Diplomacy has been an instrument used in the establishment and management of relations in all human societies since the dawn of history. Communication enhances smooth diplomatic process and serves as a gateway of diplomacy such as blood is to the human body. This might be the reason why some scholars narrowly equate communication with diplomacy. Whenever communication ceases, diplomacy has always been hampered, thereby resulting in conflict. Communication methods adopted in diplomatic intercourse may be verbal or non-verbal. The pre-colonial Ibibio extensively integrated non-verbal communication into its diplomatic profile. The nonverbal communication instruments included: leaves, feathers, horns, stones, water, etc., used to express desires and needs; assert authority; initiate action; share jokes; opinions and sentiments as well as the enforcement of sanction. These instruments were part and parcel of the way of life of the people and utilised symbolism from the community, hence they could readily connect with the people. The use of these cultural methods also demonstrated that communication system has been part of a common social heritage that makes cohesion and solidarity and helps to ensure the continuity of group's life. However, in the contemporary era, these methods have been neglected and are at the verge of extinction. The paper refutes the Eurocentric view that the art of diplomacy was introduced to the Africa by external agents. It advocates that some of these methods should be used alongside with the modern methods of communication to sustain the cultural heritage of the Ibibio. It adopts a historical analytical method.

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