Maswanka in Gambia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Maswanka (aka, Kunante) belong to the Malinke people cluster, an unreached cluster of Sub Saharan Africa. The Maswanka reside primarily in Guinea-Bissau but a smaller number of them live in the north-central region of Gambia, along the border with Senegal. In Gambia, the Maswanka are classified as a Partially Reached people group. They speak Mansoanka, a language of the Niger-Congo language family.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Maswanka live in extended family compounds, each consisting of a cluster of huts usually arranged in a circle around an open space. The huts are usually round with mud walls and cone-shaped, thatched roofs. Often the entire compound is surrounded by a fence, hedge, or wall. The compounds usually adjoin to form compact villages. A chief exercises political authority in each village. Like most of the people in West Africa, the Maswanka are assumed to be farmers, using very basic tools to grow a variety of crops. Staple foods of the region include maize, manioc, and rice, supplemented with squash, melons, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Major tree crops include bananas, coconuts, mangoes, and papayas. The Maswanka raise cattle, sheep, and goats, but do not use their milk. Dogs and chickens are common in Maswanka villages. The women gather wild fruits and roots, berries, and kola, shea, and palm nuts and help with the agriculture; the men hunt, fish, clear the land, and tend the cattle. Family succession usually passes to the next brother or to the oldest son of the deceased's oldest sister. The Maswanka practice an initiation ceremony when children reach puberty. This ceremony includes circumcision of boys and sometimes a twisted version of circumcision for girls, as well as a period of instruction in an isolated "bush school" where they learn certain practical skills. The Maswanka prefer cousins as marriage partners. The groom must pay a bride-price in livestock; often, premarital bride-service is also required. Occasionally, a man will have more than one wife; in such cases, each wife has her own hut, and the husband spends a fixed period with each on a rotation basis.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Maswanka practice Sunni Islam, likely mixed with traditional animistic beliefs. In Gambia, a higher percentage are Christians than in neighboring Guinea-Bissau, where most of the Maswanka reside.

What Are Their Needs?

Scripture portions, the JESUS Film, and some audio gospel recordings are available in Mansoanka. They need leadership and discipleship materials to further the growth of the Church.

Prayer Points

Ask God to call intercessors who will commit themselves to stand in the gap for the Maswanka long term. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send additional laborers to work among the Maswanka and to anoint the efforts of mission agencies focusing on this people. Pray for the translation of the complete Bible into the Mansoanka language. Ask God to launch a Disciple Making Movement among the Maswanka in Gambia that will spread to the less-reached Maswanka in Guinea-Bissau.

Scripture Prayers for the Maswanka, Kunante in Gambia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Maswanka, Kunante
People Name in Country Maswanka, Kunante
Natural Name Maswanka
Alternate Names Kunante; Maswanka; Sua
Population this Country 2,700
Population all Countries 24,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 4
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 12851
ROP3 Code 105407
ROP25 Code 304380
ROP25 Name Kunante (Mansoanka)

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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 3.21 %)
4.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
96.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Mansoanka (2,700 speakers)
Language Code msw   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Mansoanka (2,700 speakers)
Language Code msw   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Mansoanka

Primary Language:  Mansoanka

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2011-2013)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Mansoanka Jesus Film Project
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Erik Laursen, New Covenant Missions 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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