Halt the Sowei Mask (Bondo Debul) Exhibition by the British Museum

Halt the Sowei Mask (Bondo Debul) Exhibition by the British Museum

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A Girl At A Time (SL) Sierra Leone started this petition to British Museum

The British Museum is hosting an exhibition centred around one Sierra Leonean mask, a ‘sowei’ mask of the all-female Sande societies, worn at ritual public celebrations and ceremonies by the societies. Bondo Debul Mask

Well these "ceremonies" as they called it is the initiation ceremony which basically is the cutting of girls genitalia ask known as female genital mutilation (FGM). 

A Sowei is a woman who carriers out the procedure of cutting or circumcision or mutilation of girls genitalia known as Bondo.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to the removal of all, or part, of the female external genitalia. It is also known as ‘female genital cutting’ or ‘female circumcision’. FGM complications


The practice of FGM is banned globally as deemed as a serious violation by the United Nations against the rights of women and girls. 

FGM deemed the worse form of violence against women and girls is banned in the United Kingdom. Average age of girls cut in Sierra Leone 10-14 years old. In Sierra Leone a girl or woman is cut more than once in their lifetime. Even in death a female’s genitalia is mutilated.

The Bondo Debul or Bondo Devil masks are work on the last day of the initiation ceremony to warn or make a girl take a secret oath with NOT TO EVER SPEAK OF THEIR MUTILATION. A girl will never ever speak of her experience for fear she will ne visited by the Bondo Debul. Seeing that masks triggers traumatic flashbacks for victims of the Soweis. Hence why it’s a secret society. 

FGM in Sierra Leone has been used to oppressed and control women and girls bodies by the powerful elite to win political positions of power. FGM Sierra Leone
In exhibiting these Bondo Debul or Bondo Devil masks the British Museum is pioneering the continuous mutilation and torture of girls and women’s genital. Violating their rights and dignity.

 In this month of November known as end violence against women and girls month British Museum should not be exhibiting such masks that has haunted the lives of women and girls. 

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