Estudios del vocabularfio Abaku . In 1988, Lydia Cabrera (1899–1991) published La lengua sagrada de los Ñáñigos, an Abakuá phrasebook that is to this day the largest work available on any African diaspora community in the Americas. In the early 1800s in Cuba, enslaved Africans from the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon created Abakuá societies for protection and mutual aid. Abakuá rites reenact mythic legends of the institution’s history in Africa, using dance, chants, drumming, symbolic writing, herbs, domestic animals, and masked performers to represent African ancestors. Criminalized and scorned in the colonial era, Abakuá members were at the same time contributing to the creation of a unique Cuban culture, including rumba music, now considered a national treasure.