Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Songhai "Top 25"

A couple of years ago, before we had the Songhai blog, we did a Top 25 list on the Songhai in one of our newsletters. I thought it'd be fun to post it here for those of you who might want to know an extra thing or two about the people you pray for each month:

Here are 25 things you may or may not know about the Songhai:

  1. The Songhai kingdom was established around 680 AD (that’s over 800 years before America was discovered!)
  2. There are around 3 million Songhai people stretched across Niger, Mali & Burkina Faso
  3. Most live along the Niger River
  4. Most are subsistent farmers (they grow enough food to live on, not to sell)
  5. The Songhai were once all animists (their religious beliefs were grounded in their belief in a spirit world that is comprised of ancestors & other spirits)
  6. Towards the end of the 1400’s, the Songhai were forced to convert to Islam by the sword
  7. Around 1450, the Songhai were at the height of their dynasty & the dominate power in West Africa
  8. The Songhai believe that their is an underwater spirit world in the Niger River where ancient spirits reside & people can visit
  9. Islam is superficially important but spirit possession, magic, sorcery, & witchcraft remain the vital components of their beliefs
  10. Islamic law allows a man to have up to four wives but Songhai men can usually only afford one
  11. The Songhai are 99.5% Muslim
  12. 85% are illiterate
  13. Three out of 5 Songhai children will die before their 5th birthday due to illness or malnutrition
  14. The average Songhai makes around $400 each year
  15. They do everything with their right hand except for one thing. (Let’s just say that they have not taken advantage of the wonderful invention that is toilet paper)
  16. If a Songhai man dies, the wife must remain in her house for 4 months & 1 week.
  17. The Songhai have a proverb that says, “A log can float in water for a long time but will never become a crocodile.”
  18. The first chief of Ayorou was a woman
  19. The Songhai survive in one of the harshest climates in the world with heat indexes that reach 150 & little rainfall
  20. The Songhai live in Timbuktu, Mali (yes, it really exists!)
  21. The Songhai believe that one must not tell someone his or her baby is cute, as it is believed to bring evil upon the child
  22. The physical care of children is dedicated entirely to the mother of the family
  23. A child becomes an adult at the age of 15. A girl will be eligible for marriage at this age if she is not in school. Men marry around the age of 21
  24. Southern Baptists currently have 7 people working among the Songhai
  25. The Songhai are less than 0.2% Christian

I don’t know if you’ve learned anything new about the Songhai or not but maybe one thing you have been reminded of is that they have lived in darkness for centuries; they’ve been blind to the Truth of the Gospel & have yet to bend their knees to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

But there is hope! And we are seeing light breaking through. The veils are slowly being removed. Your prayers are bringing them to their knees! Please do not cease in praying for them!

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