The Fulani people in North Africa
The Fulani are a people group in several regions of Africa, whose distinctive physical features are similar to people in Egypt, northern Sudan, and Ethiopia. Their tall, lean bodies, light skin, wavy hair, and thin noses and lips contrast starkly to other African tribal groups surrounding them. Nearly 20 million Fulani live in an area stretching from the shores of Senegal to the borders of Ethiopia.
WAY OF LIFE AND CULTURE
Traditionally most Fulani are shepherds or cattle herders, but over time some have settled down. A Fulani family needs at least a herd of 100 cattle in order to live completely off their livestock. When the number of livestock drops, the family must start farming to survive.
The main crops they grow are millet, maize and sorghum. When the harvest is complete, the younger men take the livestock to better pastures. Often they leave with the cattle in December and may not return to their homestead until June when the rains begin to fall.
The Fulani are overwhelmingly Muslim; however, their traditional pre-Islamic rituals and beliefs are still followed today and only vaguely linked with Islam. Although it’s not fully understood, Islam is part of their ethnic identity, it has been said that it is not possible to be Christian and Fulani at the same time. However, the New Testament, the Jesus Film, and Christian broadcasts are available in their native Fulfulde language. The good news is that some Fulani are responding to Jesus in greater numbers than ever before. Much prayer and intercession are still needed to bring the Fulani to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The main ministry challenge to reaching the Fulani is that there are not enough workers to meet their response to the gospel. Other general challenges and in reaching the Fulani people is that they face over-population, lack of grazing lands, drought, livestock disease, encroaching farm lands, and government restrictions on their movements.
- Pray that the Lord would raise up workers to accomplish the task of evangelism and to disciple new Fulani Christians.