The Art of Burkina Faso

by Christopher D. Roy
University of Iowa

The Bolô People:

Bolô population is about 6,000, with a small Bolô population in Mali. Their land is a great flat plain surrounded by high hills. Their major villages are Kaya, Dionkélé, Tigan, Ndorolani, Niéma, and Téoulé.

The Bolô speak a Mandé language and share major cultural characteristics with their neighbors to the east, the Bobo, their western neighbors, the Senufo, and with their Marka-Soninké neighbors to the north, in Mali.

Primary crops are millet, maize, and rice, and, like most Mandé peoples in Burkina, they once were important producers of woven cotton cloth. Bolô villages are concentrated village communities with centralized authority in the person of a village chief (dugutigi). Each neighborhood is made up of the dwellings of several lineages (kpa) belonging to one clan (fadiu) who claim a common founding ancestor (fa). They are organized into age grades (flankuru), which hold initiations (Jaquinod 1963: 135-6).