Introduction / History The Bolon live in western Burkina Faso in a land of savannah, small forests, and wet season marshes. The people spend their lives farming and managing small herds of cattle, goats, and sheep. Daily food includes millet, corn, sesame, and ground-nuts. Tobacco is grown as a cash crop. Villagers use wood and charcoal for fuel, and live in mud houses built around a central courtyard.
Extended families live close together, and the male head of the family has almost unlimited power over the other members. Each village is organized in a strict hierarchy according to sections, families, and age classes. Each clan interprets customs differently, and thus dances and other ceremonies vary greatly from one village to another.
The people as a whole are known for their complex masks, which are very distinct from, and respected and feared by neighboring groups. The Bolon coexist with neighbors out of necessity, but prohibit intermarriage with the Senoufo, and will not tolerate Senoufo living in Bolon areas. The Bolon have retained their heritage and character despite years of outside contact.
The majority of villagers follow the traditional religion, and there is only one known Christian. Many are Muslims. A low literacy rate may make audio-visual presentations of the Gospel more effective. Missionaries willing to live and work among the Bolon might encourage more receptivity to Christianity.