Introduction / History
The Dzuun, a small ethnic group of over 13,000 speakers, are one of many people groups inhabiting Burkina Faso's southwest region. The Dzuun are concentrated in about 10 villages, so their territory is not very large.
Economically, the Dzuun are well off compared with other ethnic groups. They live in Burkina Faso's fruit-basket. Thus, besides subsistence farming of millet, sorghum, maize, peanuts and sweet potatoes, the Dzuun earn cash by selling products such as oranges, mandarins, mangoes, yams, okra and sweet potatoes. Education is gaining in importance among the Dzuun, although less than half of the boys and only one-quarter of the girls who are of school age are currently enrolled. It appears the Dzuun are taking more of an interest in learning to read in their mother tongue. Literacy centers for Jula are also available.
In terms of religion, the group experienced a mass conversion to Islam only 50 years ago. While all profess to be Muslim, many still secretly practice aspects of the traditional religion. The Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM) began a church-planting ministry among the Dzuun 10 years ago. In their approach to evangelism, they have sought to earn favor with village elders, as the opinions of the older people carry much weight in traditional African culture. The missionaries do this through playing audiocassettes of translated Scripture stories to the older generation first. Besides the efforts of those from AIMM, another church group has recently evangelized among the group. Another development in presenting the Gospel is a Dzuun man's writing three Christian songs, based on the Psalms. In church planting, it is always encouraging to see church music that arises from the local culture; that is, music that uses Dzuungoo melodies and instruments, but whose words carry the truth of the Gospel. In addition, the translation of the Scriptures is progressing.
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