Thursday, December 2, 2010

Portrait of Bondo Girl in Sokurella

© by Chad Finer

My travels in Sierra Leone were extensive. I spent two weeks hiking in the Loma Mountains, staying in tiny villages. This photo taken in March 1970 was in the small Kuranko village called Sokurella. The village was the most remote of the villages in this portion of the Northern Province, and was situated just under the highest peak in the Lomas known as Mt. Bintimani. It was in this village that my fellow hiker, Lloyd Ziegler, was briefly ill and as a result we spent some extra time here. I remember there being 3 or 4 Bondo initiates that came out from this village while we were there. One afternoon they all walked about the village dressed in these fancy beads and somewhat fancy clothes. I believe it was that evening that there was a big village celebration with singing and dancing. People came from other villages in the area to celebrate. I was fascinated by the music and dance and remember being surprised that we were allowed to be a part of this celebration. Folks from this area were friendly. This young woman allowed me to take pictures of her and her fellow initiates. In 1970 she was probably about 12 or 13 years old.


munchman said...

I am currently working in sokurella and this lady is still living there. She was very happy to see this photo, i would greatly appreciate if you could direct me to more of your photos of Sokurella so i can show the people there. I have some photos of the area now if you would be interested to see the place today, i could send to you.

sl 68-70 said...

Thanks for your comment. I have a number of pictures from Sokurellan(1969 & 1970) - many are in my site that you found but I have many more. It was fascinating for me to learn that the the woman is still living in the village. The picture - as noted was taken in March 1970 (47 years ago now) so that woman would now be near 60 years old). I would very much like to see pictures of the area - but I would also like to know what you are doing there. Thanks again for your contact