Dr. Robin Renee 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."
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 (oo-lee). 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 symbolic relationship exists between the two.