Wolof in Türkiye (Turkey)

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Wolof
Country: Türkiye (Turkey)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,700
World Population: 6,855,500
Primary Language: Wolof
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Atlantic-Wolof
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Hundreds of years ago, the Wolof conquered many tribes in the northwestern Senegal area. By the end of the 1300s, the Wolof had grown into a large empire of separate, self-governing states throughout West Africa. By the 1500s, the empire had split into four major Wolof kingdoms.

There is a Wolof diaspora that covers most of the countries of West Africa and certain ones in Europe. There is also a small diaspora community in Turkey.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Many of the Wolof people arrive in Turkey hoping to make their way from there to Europe. Some aren’t able to make it to Europe, and they remain in Turkey, hoping to find work. The Wolof, and other African peoples, are a small minority in Turkey. They must adjust to a different language and culture, all the while standing out because of their different appearance. One of the few things they have in common with the Turkish majority is Islam.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Islam was introduced to the Wolof people in 1040, probably through Muslim traders. The Wolof are attracted to the Sufi form of Islam. Sufism is much more mystical and emotional than other forms of Islam. In Senegal, about 92 percent of the people belong to a Sufi brotherhood, also called tariqas. The Wolof who migrated out of Africa are probably less dedicated to these brotherhoods, but they are still part of their identity as a people.

Along with their Islamic beliefs the Wolof believe in bad and good spirits as well as witches. Bad spirits live in tall trees or grassy areas. The Wolof wear amulets to protect them from the bad spirits. They contact a marabout, or spiritual leader with supernatural powers, when making important decisions.

What Are Their Needs?

No matter where they live, the Wolof people remain largely untouched by the gospel. The Wolof view Christianity as being for someone else, and there is much community pressure to conform to Islam. There are many Christian resources available for them, but very few who are willing to go to this harvest field. There is a great need for laborers who are sensitive to Wolof culture to work among them in Turkey and Europe.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Wolof people in Turkey to put their faith in the Living God rather than the spirit world.
Pray for Wolof leaders to have the spiritual hunger it takes to embrace the only savior no matter what the cost.
Pray for a Wolof based church planting movement to flourish in Turkey.
Pray for the Wolof people to have easy access to gospel materials.
Pray for dedicated workers who are willing to spend years trying to win and equip Wolof people to be disciples in Christ's Kingdom.

Text Source:   Joshua Project