Barawani Swahili in Somalia


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The name Swahili literally means "coast," and is the name given to several people groups that share a common culture (Uswahili), language (Kiswahili), and religion (Islam). Thousands of years ago, groups of hunters inhabited the East African coast and intermarried with the shepherds there. By the second century, people from northern Congo came to the area and intermarried with them. Subsequent groups of people migrating from other areas such as the Persian Gulf also joined these coastal people, adopting parts of their culture and language. Later, Indonesian, Hindi, and Portuguese traders settled on the coast. Soon, they too began adopting Swahili traits and became a part of the larger group. The Swahili language has many different dialects. A number of its words were borrowed from Arabic, the second language for many Swahili. As you could imagine from the mix of people who have joined under the "Swahili" umbrella, this language is very complicated. Though they are called "Swahili" by others, they prefer to be named according to their local settlements. Since that time, groups of Swahili have migrated to different parts of the coast, forming their own dialects and cultural variations. They are most likely to be living up and down the East African coast, and their highest populations are in Somalia and Tanzania. The Swahili has some subgroups; among them are the Barawani.


What Are Their Lives Like?

For about 2,000 years, the backbone of the Swahili economy has been commerce no matter what part of Africa they live in. They worked as cross-national merchants trading spices, slaves, ivory, gold, and grain. Today, international commerce is still important to the Swahili but to a lesser degree. Many of the upper-class Swahili now manage small businesses, do clerical work, and teach school. Those living in cities sometimes own plantations that provide both their income and their food supply. Most lower-class Swahili are farmers. Their principal crops include rice, sorghum, millet, and maize. Since the Swahili in Somalia are predominantly Muslim, Islamic practices play a large role in their daily activities. Dietary laws, rules of dress, social etiquette, marriage ceremonies, laws concerning divorce, and rituals at birth and death are all governed by Islamic tradition. Parents strive to have well-mannered, respectful children, since this is highly valued among Muslims. Boys go to Islamic schools where they study the Koran. The central building in each town is the mosque. The male population prays there five times a day and at special prayer meetings on Fridays. The Swahili in Somalia have recently demonstrated an interest in Western culture. For example, in addition to attending Islamic schools, most children also attend non-religious schools to acquire a Western-style education. Also, traditional Swahili folk medicines are no longer the only means of treating those with illnesses. In some areas there are modern medical clinics. Many of the Swahili people who live in large cities now own televisions through which they are constantly being exposed to Western ideas. Swahili women are more independent today than in times past and are becoming more involved in the economic and social realms of society. Swahili culture has not only been influenced by the Islamic religion and Western ideas but also by the Northeast Bantu (from Sub-Saharan Africa) and Arab cultures, as well as Asian, Persian, and Indian cultures. This has made their culture quite unique, and they can easily be distinguished from their neighbors. Their art has been affected by far-away cultures.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Barawani Swahili in Somalia identify with Islam, and to them it is a way of life. Nearly all of the Swahili profess to be Muslims; however, many of their traditional pre-Islamic beliefs and practices still exist. For example, they believe in many spirits, both good and evil. They also believe in the supernatural power of witches and sorcerers. The Swahili often have folk explanations for natural occurrences. For example, some believe that a cow is supporting the earth and that earthquakes are caused when the cow moves its horns. They believe that thunder is the sound of God speaking with the angels and that lightning occurs when God is pleased. To the Swahili, lightning is a good sign because it means that God will send plentiful rain and food that year.


What Are Their Needs?

By African standards, the Swahili are economic prosperous. But like the church in Laodicea that was economically rich but spiritually needy, the Swahili are in great need of the only savior.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Swahili, Barawani in Somalia.

Pray for the Lord to give Barawani Swahili people the humility to come as beggars to the only one who can save them from sin and spiritual death. Pray for the Lord to send his children as long-term ambassadors to the Barawani Swahili people. Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among the Barawani Swahili people that will spread to every country in eastern and southern Africa.


Profile Source:   JoshuaProject  

People Name General Swahili
People Name in Country Swahili, Barawani
Natural Name Barawani Swahili
Population this Country 272,000
Population all Countries 1,809,000
Total Countries 25
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 5
Alternate Names African Black; Arab-Swahili; Bantu; Baraawe; Barwaani; Black African; Central Swahili; Coastal; Coastal Swahili; Mrima; Shirazi; Siddi; Swahili Shamba; Urban; Zanzibari
People ID 15145
ROP3 Code 109644
Country Somalia
Region Africa, East and Southern
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 3  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Jubbada Hoose region. Bajuni dialect: Kismayuu south to the border with Kenya; Mwini dialect: Baraawe and dispersed in southern towns.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Somalia
Region Africa, East and Southern
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 3  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Jubbada Hoose region. Bajuni dialect: Kismayuu south to the border with Kenya; Mwini dialect: Baraawe and dispersed in southern towns..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Swahili (272,000 speakers)
Language Code swh   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Mwini
Dialect Code 16982   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Swahili (272,000 speakers)
Language Code swh   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Mwini
Dialect Code 16982   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Swahili

Primary Language:  Swahili

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1868-1968)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1879-1989)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1890-2017)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Interconfessional (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Love Story
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Swahili
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Hope Video
Film / Video Walk with Jesus (Africa, JF Project)
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Got Questions Ministry
General Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from FCBH
Text / Printed Matter Bible Gateway Scripture
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Comic Book Version (SuperBible)
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
100.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
Unknown
Independent
Unknown
Orthodox
Unknown
Other Christian
Unknown
Protestant
Unknown
Roman Catholic
Unknown
Photo Source Luciano Rizzello - Flickr  Creative Commons  Used with permission
Map Source Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission  
Profile Source JoshuaProject  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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