Kenga in Chad

The Kenga have only been reported in Chad
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The term Hadjeray, which means "of the stones or mountains," is a collective term used to describe a group of mountain peoples living in the Hadjeray region of south-central Chad. They are descendants of peoples from the surrounding plains who fled to the mountains in an attempt to escape the invasions of neighboring tribes. The Hadjeray include such groups as the Kenga, the Bidio, the Jongor, and the Dangaleat. All these groups speak Chadic languages, except the Kenga, who speak a Sara-Bongo-Baguirimi language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Besides their geographic and linguistic closeness, the Kenga tribe has similar cultures and religions as other Hadjeray peoples. Despite these similarities, however, most of the groups are hesitant to intermarry, preferring to maintain separate identities. Although the groups are somewhat independent of one another, their relationships remain peaceful. In fact, they have often rallied together to maintain independence from outside forces. For instance, all the Hadjeray groups played a prominent role in the 1960 rebellion against the Chadian national government.

The Kenga are primarily farmers who attempt to cultivate the rocky ground of the region. Some, however, have moved to the cities and taken jobs in construction or in the government. The main crop grown is millet; but some cotton, okra, beans, and corn are also grown, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Their main diet consists of a millet paste, eaten with a sauce made from wild leaves, meat or dried fish.

Most of the Kenga receive income from selling surplus millet and from transporting goods for others. They trade with the nearby Arabs on a regular basis in order to purchase items they cannot otherwise obtain. In these trades, millet is given for milk, meat, and items made by Arab blacksmiths.

The Kenga make only a few handicrafts, most of which are for their own use and not for sale to others. Some of the crafts include woven palm leaf mats, clay jars for transporting and storing water and grain, and cotton thread and fabric.

The Kenga people live in various villages. Most villages have several clans, each of which lives in its own neighborhood. Each village is run by a chief or headman, who is primarily in charge of settling disputes between the villagers. Every village also has a "chief of the land," who holds the "religious power" of the village.

Most Kenga are rural and live in round, mud-brick huts with cone-shaped, thatch roofs. In town, the dwellings are also made of mudbrick, but are rectangular in shape and have flat roofs. The villages consist of several compounds. Each compound contains a number of huts belonging to an extended family.

Most Kenga women wear colorful print fabrics, which are either wrapped around their bodies or tailored into dresses. Head coverings are worn by the women when they are outside their own compounds. The men wear Western-style pants with shirts or long robes with or without pants.

Although many Kenga villages have a primary school, the teachers are generally inadequate. Many children who attempt school soon drop out. In addition to schools, there are other evidence of modernization among the Kenga. Kerosene lanterns and flashlights are used in each compound. Short-wave radios and digital watches are common. Some Kenga even own bicycles or mopeds. They still lack other modern features such as electricity, telephones, clean water and health care facilities.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although a majority of the Hadjeray peoples have completely converted to Islam, the Kenga remain only largely Muslim. Pre-Islamic beliefs, however, are still practiced by all the groups, including the Kenga. Therefore, the tribes remain united in religion. All of the groups belong to what is known as the margais cult. The margais are believed to be invisible spirits who live in nature's formations and control the natural elements.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kenga tribe needs more educational opportunities and quality health care facilities. Perhaps Christian teachers and medical workers will have the greatest opportunities to share the love of Jesus with them.

The Kenga tribe is also in need of Christian resources in their own language. A very few people of the Hadjeray region have accepted Jesus as their savior. In fact, most of them have never yet had an opportunity to hear a clear presentation of the gospel.

Increased missions efforts, additional laborers, Christian broadcasts, and evangelistic literature are greatly needed to effectively reach the Kenga tribe with the gospel. However, prayer is the first step toward seeing them reached.

Prayer Points

Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies that may be focusing on the Kenga and other Hadjeray tribes.
Pray that God will call Christian teachers and medical workers to minister to the peoples of the Hadjeray region.
Ask God to raise up additional long-term missionaries to join the few who have already responded.
Pray that signs and wonders will follow Kenga believers as they share Christ with their own people.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of Chad through intercession.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local fellowships of believers throughout the Hadjeray region.

Scripture Prayers for the Kenga in Chad.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Kenga
People Name in Country Kenga
Alternate Names Cenge; Kenge
Population this Country 121,000
Population all Countries 121,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
People ID 12620
ROP3 Code 104831
ROP25 Code 303886
ROP25 Name Kenga
Country Chad
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Guéra region: Guéra department, Bitkine subprefecture, Bitkine area, 52 villages, including Bolongo and Bokiyo.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Chad
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Guéra region: Guéra department, Bitkine subprefecture, Bitkine area, 52 villages, including Bolongo and Bokiyo..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
0.30 %
Ethnic Religions
30.70 %
0.00 %
69.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Kenga (121,000 speakers)
Language Code kyq   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Kenga (121,000 speakers)
Language Code kyq   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kenga
Map Source Anonymous  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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