A Bozo girl from Bamako, Mali
|Regions with significant populations|
The Bozo are a West African ethnic group located predominantly along the Niger River in Mali. The name Bozo is thought to derive from Bambara bo-so, 'Bamboo house'; the people accept it as referring to the whole of the ethnic group but use more specific clan names such as Sorogoye, Hain, and Tieye themselves. They are famous for their fishing and are occasionally referred to as the "masters of the river". Their languages, belonging to the Soninke-Bozo subgroup of Northwestern Mande languages, have traditionally been considered dialects of one language, though in reality there are at least four distinct varieties (see Bozo languages).
Though the Bozo are predominantly Muslim, they preserve a number of animist traditions as well. Their animal totem is the bull, whose body represents the Niger and whose horns represent the Bozo fishing pirogues.
A 2000 census counted the Bozo population of Mali to be 132,100.
- Ligers, Ziedonis (1964-1969). Les Sorko (Bozo), maîtres du Niger: étude ethnographique (four volumes). Paris: Librairie des Cinq Continents.
- in ISBN 3-570-19230-X: Geo Special Westafrika, Article: Sexualkunde am Fluss