"WU FYEREBOWE": Our Senoufo Wardrobe

Senoufo cultural identity and sartorial art: traditional knowledge of the transformation of cotton into Senoufo fabric
Mali / Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso: Région des Hauts-Bassins, Province du Houet et du Kénédougou, Commune de Bobo-Dioulasso et de Koloko. Mali: Région de Sikasso, Cercle de Sikasso, Commune de Sikasso et Finkolo
Project Duration: 
01/10/2018 to 31/12/2019
Project Description: 

Most West African countries have considerable ethnic diversity. This is also the case in Burkina Faso, a country of 274,000 km2 with a population of nearly 18,000,000 inhabitants, which include a mosaic of nearly 60 different ethnic and linguistic groups.

Among these, there are the Senoufos. Their territorial area consists of southwestern Burkina Faso, southern Mali and northern Côte d'Ivoire. They are thus straddling these 3 countries. The Senoufos are farming people focusing on growing cereals as well as cotton.

It appears that cotton is highly relevant for the existence of Senoufos. Indeed, it is at the base of their cultural clothing and is of ordinary importance. To do this, cotton is grown in the family field. This means that its culture involves all members of the household (men, women and children of working age).

It thus appears that the process of artisanal transformation of cotton into fabric strips is immersed in the context of beliefs, rituals and traditions for the Senoufo, like social cohesion, food and nutrition security, income generation as well as women's empowerment.

The project "WU FYEREBOWE" pursues the following two results:

- the content of the Senoufos' cultural clothing identity and its link with development is known and disseminated

- the traditional Senoufo clothing production tools are listed and displayed

The action is being implemented in Burkina Faso and Mali. In Burkina Faso, the Hauts-Bassins region is concerned, notably with the provinces of Houet and Kénédougou and more specifically the communes of Bobo-Dioulasso and Koloko. In Mali, it is the region of Sikasso with the municipalities of Sikasso and Finkolo. It should be pointed out that the 2 municipalities of Koloko and Finkolo are neighboring and border each other. In each of these communes, 5 villages will be selected according to their accessibility, the presence of traditional spinning and weaving activities, making in total 10 villages.

This project is fully in line with UNESCO's theme of "protecting our heritage and fostering creativity". Heritage is a source of identity and cohesion for local communities that enables them to cope with change and instability.