Bo is the second largest city in Sierra Leone (after the capital, Freetown) and the largest city in the Southern Province. Bo serves as the capital of Bo District as well as of the Southern Province. The city had a population of 269,000 , though the last estimate probably includes the surrounding district. After Freetown, Bo is the leading educational, transportational, commercial and cultural center of Sierra Leone.
Bo lies about 140 miles (225 km) south-east of Freetown. Like in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language is widely spoken in the city of Bo, although English is the official language spoken at schools and government administration.
The city is the primary home of Njala University, the second largest university in Sierra Leone, after the Fourah Bay College in Freetown. The city is home to the Christ the King College, one of the most prominent colleges in Sierra Leone. Bo is also home to the the The Bo Government Secondary School (commonly known as Bo School), which is one of the biggest and most prominent secondary schools in Sierra Leone. The school has a history of producing some of the country's top students.
Centrally located, Bo lies on the main rail line
east and south of Freetown
which was closed in 1974. From 1930 until independence
1961, it was the capital of the Protectorate of Sierra Leone
. The city is the administrative center of the Southern Province
. After Freetown, Bo is the leading transportation, commercial, and educational center of Sierra Leone. Bo began its modern development with the coming of the railroad in 1889 and became an educational center in 1906, when the Bo Government Secondary School was established.
The inhabitants of Bo are known for their resolve, resistance and hospitality. The town was named after its generosity. An elephant was killed close to what is now known as Bo Parking Ground. People from the surrounding villages came to receive their share. Because the meat was so large, the hunter spent days distributing it and the words "Bo- lor" (which in Mende language means "this is yours," with reference to the meat) was said so much that the elders and visitors decided to name the place Bo. "Bo-lor" in Mende also translates to "this is Bo."
The city of Bo is governed with a city council
form of government, which is headed by a mayor
, in whom executive authority
is vested. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city and for seeing that all laws are enforced. The mayor is elected directly by the people of Bo. The current mayor of Bo is Wusu Sannoh
, he is a member of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party
(SLPP). The city and the entire Bo District is a stronghold of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party. In the second round of the 2007 Sierra Leone presidential election, the incumbent
vice president of Sierra Leone Solomon Berewa
and candidate of the then ruling SLPP party got 67% of the vote in Bo District, while the leader of the main opposition party
and current president of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma
of the All People's Congress
(APC) got 30% of the vote in the second round in the district.
Geography and climate
Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Bo has a tropical climate
with a rainy season
from May to October and a dry season
from November to April. Average annual precipitation
varies from 5,080 mm
(200 inches). The prevailing winds are the SW Monsoon during the wet season and the northeastern Harmattan
which is a dust laden wind from the Sahara Desert
during the dry season. Average temperature
ranges in Bo are from 21 degrees Celsius
(73 degrees Fahrenheit
) to 31 degrees Celsius
(88 degrees Fahrenheit
) all year.
In 1981 Bo District formed 'One World Link' (OWL) with Warwick District in the UK, inspired by a desire for justice, equality, human understanding and mutual support. Over the years it has helped to strengthen both communities and their awareness of global and development issues. The many outcomes of the link include women's groups, school links, an online archive, an education programme and the opening, in 2008, of a Community Centre in Bo city. Immediate plans include collaboration on a pilot environmental programme for the collection and disposal of waste.
Like in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language is widely spoken in the city Bo, although English is the official language spoken at schools and government places. Bo has one of the highest literacy rates in Sierra Leone. The city is home to many primary schools as well as several secondary schools, including one of the elite secondary schools in West Africa, the The Bo Government Secondary School (commonly known as Bo School). The school was founded in 1906 by British educationist Leslie Probyn to educate the children of Bo Town. The school has a long history of producing the elite of Sierra Leone, especially the country's top politicians.
Bo School is sited on 13.5 acres of land in the heart of Bo Town. The school itself is situated in pleasant surroundings and within walking distance of the government hospital, government post office, police station, and the main shopping center of Bo Town.
A football field, volleyball court, basketball court, long tennis court, and cricket pitch enrich the recreational facilities the school provides. There are plans to rehabilitate the school swimming pool.
Bo School also maintains a unique tradition of seniority which has consistently augured well for social cohesion among the students. Maggots/Greeners/Rustics are either junior or newer members of the school (specifically those with more recent admission numbers). They are expected to always observe all rules of deference association with their positions and comply fully with specific instructions from senior students.
Colleges and Universities in Bo
Notable Secondary Schools in Bo
Chris the College secondary school.
ST. Andrews Secondary School
- Commercial Secondary school.
- SLMB Secondary School
Bo is the second most important city in Sierra Leone, after the capital Freetown. The two main local radio stations
in Bo is Kiss FM 104, and Radio New Song 97.5. The local service of the national broadcaster, SLBS, transmits on 96.5. Commercial station Capital Radio
uses 102.3 and BBC World Service also has an FM relay.
Like the rest of Sierra Leone, football
is the most popular sport in the city. Bo has two football
clubs in the Sierra Leone National Premier League
, Bo Rangers
, and Nepean Stars
. Both clubs play their home games at the Bo Stadium
. Another club from Bo Town called the Kakua Rangers
plays in the Sierra Leone National First Division, the second highest football league in Sierra Leone, after the Sierra Leone National Premier League. There are several clubs from Bo Town in the lower divisions of Sierra Leone league system.
Since the end of the civil war in 2002, there has been an increase in [[homicide
, armed robbery
, home invasion
in Bo Town. Petty crime
and pick pocketing of wallets, cell phones, and passports are very common in the city. Over the past year, criminal exploits have become more aggressive. Increasingly operating in numbers and while heavily armed. Like in most West African countries, local criminals target expatriates
due to their perceived wealth
Bo has an ethnically diverse population, although the Mende
make up the majority. The city is home to all of the country's ethnic groups as well as a large Liberian
community. Bo is home to large groups of Muslims
serves the Bo District
and the Southern Province
. There are regular connections from Bo to Freetown
, and other major cities in the country.
Notable people from Bo
- Julius Maada Bio, former Head of State of Sierra Leone
- Prince Harding, Sierra Leone's minister of Transportation from 2002-2007
- Julius Gibrilla Woobay, Sierra Leonean football star
- Nabih Berri, speaker of Lebanese parliament
- Joe Robert Pemagbi, Sierra Leone ambassador to the United Nation
- Kanja Ibrahim Sesay, Financial Secretary of Bo District Students Union and Secretary General of the Fourah Bay College Students Union
- Morris Kallon, former Sierra Leonean rebel military commander of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
- Wusu Sannoh, mayor of Bo
- Aluspah Brewah, Sierra Leonean football star
- Lamin Massaquoi,Sierra Leonean football star
- Emerson Samba, Sierra Leonean football star
There are other towns in Sierra Leone with the same name.