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Guinea Bissau, Bijago

The lifestyle on the Guinea Bissau islands, and particularly in Canhabac, 3 500 inhabitants, the most traditional one, has remained largely intact and has not or very little been influenced by modern civilization. Women own their hut, in which the man moves into, therefore it is matrilocal. The father transmits his surname to the children, but it is the mother who chooses the first name, and the children belong to the mother’s clan.

A queen rules each village on the island. There is also a king (who is not the queen's spouse) but his role is limited, he is only a spokesman to the women council. Each village has a woman council who governs and is elected for a lifetime. The meetings are prohibited to men. The women take all-important decisions of the village, such as the retirement ritual of women (3 years) and men (10 years). You could say they have an executive, administrative and judicial power.

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