Introduction / History
The Republic of Cote d'Ivoire lies along the Gulf of Guinea, on the west coast of Africa. Cote d'Ivoire received its name in the late 1400's, when French sailors began to trade for ivory there. Today it has a population of more than 16 million.
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. The Hausa have migrated to Ivory Coast over the last 200 to 300 years. Hausa traders, Muslim priests, and Hausa-speaking slaves helped to spread the Hausa culture throughout Ivory Coast. Hausa became the language of Muslims and of trade. Still, the official language of Cote d'Ivoire, also known as "Ivory Coast," is French.
What are their lives like?
Years ago, Hausa traders imported textile products, leather goods, metal locks, and horse equipment to the area of present-day Cote d'Ivoire. Slaves, coffee, and ammunition were the products that the Hausa traded in exchange. With the expansion of trade, Hausa immigration into Cote d'Ivoire increased. Very few of the Hausa immigrants came to Cote d'Ivoire 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 Mulams (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. 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. Others are silversmiths, glass workers, tailors, barbers, and even bakers.
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; however, more and more people have begun wearing European style clothing.
What are their beliefs?
The Hausa of Cote d'Ivoire are virtually all Muslim. This is a high percentage in a country where only one-fourth 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 desire or concern. The malams are welcomed guests among the natives because they believe that the priests' prayers will be answered.
What are their needs?
Today, there are few known Hausa believers.
* 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.