Introduction / History
Ghana is a tropical country that lies along the coast of West Africa. It has a population of more than 17 million. The Hausa are the largest ethnic group in West Africa, and a majority of them are Muslims.
The Hausa are originally from an area known as "Hausaland," a region covering 75,000 square miles and straddling the borders of Niger and Nigeria. They first began to settle in Ghana about 500 years ago.
In the fifteenth century, the first Muslim traders from Hausaland arrived and settled in the northeastern section of Ghana. With the expansion of trade in the eighteenth century and the "holy wars" of Fulani in the nineteenth century, Hausa immigration to Ghana increased. Hausa traders, Muslim priests, and Hausa-speaking slaves helped to spread the Hausa culture in Ghana.
What are their lives like?
Since the fifteenth century, Hausa traders imported textile products, leather goods, metal locks, and horse equipment to the area of present-day Ghana. Until the beginning of this century, slaves, kola nuts, coffee, gold, and elephant tusks were the products that the Hausa traded in exchange.
With the expansion of trade, Hausa immigration into Ghana increased. Very few of the Hausa immigrants came to Ghana with wives. Instead, as soon as they began to make a living in any area, they would take local wives and start to build families. However, they would invite Hausa priests to settle near them so that their children would be educated in the Koran. This was done in order to reduce the influence of the children's non-Hausa mothers, and to keep the Hausa culture alive.
Hausa women are given less educational opportunities than men and are required to marry while still very young. They are often confined to the home, except for visits to relatives, ceremonies, and the workplace. They are primarily responsible for tending to the children and doing the household chores. This includes providing the water and fuel needed for cooking. In addition, they are expected to invest the rest of their time in some type of trade. The money earned is used in financing their daughters' dowries.
The Hausa are very industrious people and idleness is not tolerated among them. In fact, they have been known to hold down several occupations at the same time, such as positions in the military, trade and commerce, social services, and the spreading of Islam. In this respect, they have come to dominate the country in the areas of religion and commerce.
The national dress of the Hausa consists of loose flowing gowns and trousers. The gowns have wide openings on both sides for ventilation. The trousers are loose at the top and center, but rather tight around the legs. Leather sandals and turbans are also typical. Today, these gowns and sandals are still worn by the wealthy of northern Ghana; however, more people have begun wearing European style clothing and other tailored garments.
What are their beliefs?
The Hausa of Ghana are virtually all Muslim. This is a high percentage in a country where a small percentage of the population is Islamic. Both the Qadiriyah brotherhood and the Tijaniyah order have followers there. Nevertheless, the religious practices of the Hausa have been mixed with local traditions. For example, they believe in a variety of spirits, both good and bad. Traditional rituals include making sacrificial offerings to the spirits and to the spirit possessed. Most rituals are performed by family members, but specialists are called upon to cure diseases. The Hausa priests, or malams, are thought to have the best charms. According to the malams, different magical formulas have different effects. The priests claim to have cures for every aspect of human concern.
What are their needs?
Today, there are only a few known believers among them.
* Ask the Lord to send long term laborers to live among the Hausa and share the love of Christ with them.
* Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Hausa.
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the small number of Muslim Hausa who have converted to Christianity.
* Pray that their traditional Muslim culture will soften, creating open doors for the Gospel to be preached among them.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of the Hausa towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Hausa.