Introduction / History
Although more than a quarter of the surrounding groups are Christian, some of the smaller groups, including the Maban, remain unreached. Their original homeland is believed to be somewhere east of the African Great Lakes. As both the population and the sizes of their herds increased, they migrated northward, reaching their present territory in the late fifteenth century. Today, they live along the banks of the White Nile.
Throughout the nineteenth century the the region was raided for slaves and ivory. Although slave stations were established in many areas, they were well organized and able to deter the raiders. During the early twentieth century, their way of life was greatly affected. Medical services, irrigation, modern roads, and the introduction of a European style government, all led to changes in their culture.
What are their lives like?
Maban communities can be likened to beads on a string, because they are spread out along the banks of the White Nile River about 200 yards apart. Several thatch-roofed mud huts make up one settlement. Each settlement represents one family's lineage and is headed by a chief. The chief settles disputes and maintains order in his settlement.
At the center of their territory is the capital, Pachoda, where the king, or reth, resides. The reth is attributed with spiritual powers and is thought to be divine. Each reth is also believed to be a reincarnation of the first king, named Nyikang.
The Maban make their living by raising small herds of cattle, along with sheep, goats, pigs and hens. The cattle are given the utmost care because they are so important to the survival of the tribes. The cattle are even tied near fires at night to keep insects from biting them.
The Maban must plant crops in gardens outside the villages in order to maintain an adequate diet. Milk supplies are often insufficient, since cattle diseases have taken a toll on their herds. Millet, maize, sesame, beans, and tobacco are raised. The men also hunt hippopotamuses, antelope, buffalo, and giraffes. Spear fishing is another important means of obtaining food and the Maban are known as expert fishermen. While the men hunt and fish, the women tend the gardens, prepare the food, and make the cooking utensils.
The clothing and tribal markings worn by the Maban clearly set them apart from neighboring groups. Neither the men nor the women wear much clothing, but the men wear bracelets of ivory or wood on their wrists or upper arms. Six of the lower teeth are removed from the Maban while they are very young, unless they are in the royal family. Both the men and women have three to five rows of dots or scars on their foreheads, indicating their unmistakable tribal identity.
What are their beliefs?
The Maban follow their traditional ethnic beliefs. They worship Juok, a diety who is recognized as the creator god. Juok is thought to be omnipresent and is addressed through sacrifices or through the present reth (Shilluk king).
The Maban also believe in the power of the "evil eye." Envy or anger may cause a person with the evil eye to bring misfortune upon others. They use prayer, sacrifices, and magic in an attempt to safeguard themselves from this power.
While many African tribes believe that the birth of twins is a curse, the Maban consider it to be a blessing. In fact, twins are considered to be "children of god."
What are their needs?
Few Christian resources are available in the Maban language. Added laborers and materials are greatly needed.
Prayer PointsView Maaban in all countries.
* Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Maban.
* Pray that the Lord will raise up long term workers to join the few who have already responded.
* Pray that God will reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
* Ask God to begin using the Maban Christians to reach out and share the Gospel with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams that will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Maban.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.