Belide in Indonesia

Joshua Project has identified the Belide only in Indonesia






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Belide live in two districts within the Muara Enim Regency of South Sumatra Province; Gelumbang and Lembak districts. Even in their home area, the Belide people live alongside the Javanese, Rambang and Ogan people. The Belide people have their own Malay dialect which is related to surrounding dialects. They can easily understand the Ogan, Meranjat, Lematang, Enim and Rambang dialects. The Belide also speak and understand the Palembang language. The Belide do not speak or understand dialects of the Pasemah cluster such as Semendo, Lintang, Empat Lawang and Lembak. But with some study they can easily learn to speak these dialects also. The Belide dialect is part of the Musi language which also includes the Pegagan, Musi, Rawas, Palembang, Penesak, Lematang, etc.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Traditionally, houses in Sumatra were built alongside a local river. Even though most roads in Sumatra today are not far from a river and usually follow a similar course, many people have begun to build their houses alongside roads instead of rivers. The Belide, however, follow the older practice and still live in houses on the banks of rivers, far from most roads. Most Belide live in traditional houses which are raised above the ground on wooden or brick columns. Today, many Belide are building modern two-story houses utilizing both the ground and second levels for living space. Two-story houses are now becoming a trend in South Sumatra, with modern-style houses being built alongside traditional raised houses. The Belide also possess a form of writing called Tulisan Ulu. This writing system is a syllabary system in which each symbol represents a syllable. Among the Belide only a few older people still use this kind of writing.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Belide people profess Islam as their religion and they are officially registered as Muslims. They often claim, "We are all Muslims." However, the Belide still retain many animist and spiritist beliefs. Evidence of this is the many superstitions and taboos enforced in Belide areas. For example, residents are forbidden to grow durian (a large fruit with a spiky shell) in some parts of the Belide area because, according to a local legend, one of their ancestors was killed when a durian fell and struck him. As a result, the man's parents placed a curse upon anyone who grows durian trees in the surrounding area. Thus, residents of this area do not cultivate durian. The Belide also observe superstitions regarding bathing. A person who bathes in the river is not allowed to turn his back to the river, but must face the river. They believe that a person who breaks this rule will die. The Belide are also not allowed to get in the river to bathe. They must stay on the riverbank and take water for bathing from the river with a dipper instead of swimming in the river. They also have a taboo against laying stalks of rice to dry in the road. Unhusked rice stalks can be laid to dry in other places, such as the yard around one's house, but may not be dried in the road. These examples demonstrate a syncretistic form of Islam, which incorporates traditional animistic beliefs. However, animistic beliefs appear to dominate Belide practices, rather than Islamic teaching.

What Are Their Needs?

Even though Sumatran roads pass through the Belide areas, the Belide are not accessing the benefits of modernization. They tend to live next to rivers or other bodies of water rather than near the main roads. They might be greatly helped by efforts to raise their awareness of the resources available to them in their area.

Profile Source:   IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Belide
People Name in Country Belide
Population in Indonesia 81,000
World Population 81,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Musi of Sumatra
People Name General Belide
Ethnic Code MSY44k
People ID 10777
Country Indonesia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 47  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South Sumatra Province, Musi River upstream to Bukit Barisan mountains, downstream to eastern coastal swamplands.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Musi (81,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Musi 81,000
For Primary Language: Musi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Musi Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: IPN   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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