Isata Binta Turay’s life in Danger for Refusing to Replace her late Mother as Sowei

Isata Binta Turay.jpg

By Karifa Thoronka

Soweis and some traditional leaders have declared war against Isata Binta Turay, a young Sierra Leonean who refused to be initiated into bondo Society in Kono District. Female Circumcision, which is very dangerous to women’s health is a process of excision of the clitoris and labia minora with razor by a senior society member called Sowei, who has no medical training but believed to be spiritually powerful.

Whiles speaking with a close family member of Isata Binta Turay, who refused not to mentioned her name noted that Isata has being living in Freetown since childhood, she further by saying that Isata Binta Turay’s Mother was a Sowei who died in waterloo and they later moved her corpse to Kono for traditional burial.  The eyewitness revealed that it was after the burial ceremony when the traditional leaders with some group of Soweis requested that Isata Binta Turay to replace her late Mother as tradition demands.

Whiles narrating to the press, one of the close family friend by the name of Kadiatu Kamara says that Isata Binta learned the spirit of resistance from one Kadiatu who lost her life during initiation ceremony in waterloo, many girls suffer from serious bleeding whiles undergoing the initiation ceremony.

Secret Societies have used symbols of witchcraft to intimidate community members and has vandalized property and attacked families who refuse to participate in both Poro and bondo society in many part of Sierra Leone. There was a report that women were forcibly initiated into secret society.

According to many, the forceful initiation of women has resorts to lost of lives and serious bleeding.

Another obstacle, it makes travel very difficult for women who are not part of the society during initiation seasons, they are not allowed to move freely due to risk to be captured and forcefully initiated.  Meanwhile, Successive governments have made little effort to change this picture either because the practice is so deeply embedded in the culture of the people or because politicians fear losing the votes of the people if they attempt to ban it.

For fear of death, Isata Binta Turay is still nowhere to be located, whiles the Soweis and some traditionalists are still searching for her.


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