Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bondo, sometimes used interchangeably with Sande, is a society exclusively for females in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and the borders of the Ivory Coast. Most women belonging to the ethnic groups of Temne, Mende, Vai, Kissi, Lele, Susu, Gola, Bassa, Kpelle, Bom, Belle, Gbandi, Loma, Dei, Kim, Kono, and others are initiated into a Bonde/Sande society. Bondo/Sande is an organization as well as a body of knowledge. A woman is initiated into the society and belongs to a chapter in her specific region. The expression “Where there are women, there is Bondo/Sande” denotes the devotion of women to the society. Initiation into Bondo/Sande is voluntary in contemporary times and may be necessary to become a successful female politician; but in earlier periods in West Africa, it would have been unthinkable for a woman not to be initiated into a Bondo/Sande society. This entry looks at the social context of initiation, ...