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‘Bondo is our heritage, we will protect it’

-vows National Sowie Council

February 7, 2018 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

bondo

L president of the Sowie Council, Koloneh Sesay at the high table

Members of the National Sowie Council have vowed to continue protecting the Bondo society- referring to it as their heritage despite calls from different local and international organisations to ban the practice in its entirety.

They made the vow on Monday, 5 February, 2018, during a conference organised in collaboration with the Sierra Leonean Women Are Free to Choose (SLWAFC), to educate them on the Female circumcision Awareness week.

Sierra Leone yesterday joined countries around the world to observe this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a day which was set aside to raise awareness against such a harmful practice.

Irrespective of the concerns raised with regards the cutting of girls that are initiated into the Bondo society, they claimed that the practice has no health implication as they have been doing it for decades without any complications.

“We want those against what we do to leave us alone. We do our work in the bush without any problem. Bondo is a secret society. Since we started it long ago, we have never experienced any causality as perceived by many,” says President of the National Sowie Council, Koloneh Sesay.

She accused those strongly advocating for the banning of the Bondo practice of doing it for their own selfish reasons and the reward they were getting out of it.

Madam Sesay appealed to those advocating against the practice to either help them by improving the much needed skills on how they could go about their activities or stay silent.

She claimed that they have not been given the platform to explain details about their society.

Also speaking, Executive Director of SLWAFC, Dr. Fuambai Sia Ahmadu said: “We reject the terminology female genital mutilation because we are offended by it.Women of Sierra Leone should not be referred to as mutilated. We have to speak with respect to them.”

She stated that the Female Circumcision Awareness week will serve as an opportunity for open and public dialogue about an area of women’s private lives.

She encouraged local and international researchers, as well as stakeholders to engage with them and learn more about the origin, roots and reasons for female and male circumcision as a socio-religious practice.