Wednesday, 20 February 2008 4:47 PM

Shell to Cash, the Bokolo

The term 'money' is always associated with notes and coins, but such is not the case when it comes to the traditional side of Solomon Islands.

Solomon Times sat with John Dioko from Simbo in the Western Province who explained the significance of the 'bokolo' in their society.

"The bokolo is a form of money which our people use to pay for bride price, buy land, tribal reconciliation and compensation," he said.

Bokolo is made of clam shell and "normally, collectors from overseas are the main people to buy this artifact because of its uniqueness."

"One very interesting thing about the bokolo is that it is not made out of wood but from a sea shell, and it's very rare to find people who know how to make it," said Mr. Dioko.

Solomon Times learnt that one bokolo is worth SBD$5,000 and according to Mr. Dioko, "some of the museum in the world really want it."

Asked on its history, Mr. Dioko said that their ancestors used the bokolo as their defender.

"The ancestors would chant sacred songs so that whatever plans they make, they have to be strong," he added.

Solomon Times understands that there are special artifacts in the country which are still forbidden to be showcased publicly, but there are revived ones that can be exported overseas, and one of them is bokolo.