Koyaga in Côte d'Ivoire

Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Koyaga
Country: Côte d'Ivoire
10/40 Window: No
Population: 97,000
World Population: 97,000
Primary Language: Koyaga
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Manding
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Traditionally the Jula (aka, Dyula) people traded kola nuts and gold in West Africa. Others were skilled craftsmen.

Where Are they Located?

Today the Koyaga Jula people are settled in towns and villages in northwestern Cote d 'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Mali. They are part of the Malinke-Jula people cluster within the Sub-Saharan African affinity bloc. They are engaged but unreached.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Koyaga people celebrate the joys of life through dance. They also know the sorrow of poverty and the futility of a religious practice that mingles ancient rituals of Islam.

There in the woodland savanna, they raise crops such as rice, corn, peanuts, manioc, millet, yams, and cotton. The economy of the region is tied to the success or failure of the harvest, leading to increasing poverty levels. Sadly, the Koyaga Jula people also experience a high infancy mortality rate and a high incidence of women who die in childbirth.

Because they're fiercely proud of their language, it's com¬mon to find both youth and adults speaking the Koyaga dialect of Jula.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The primary religion practiced by the Koyaka Jula is "Other Islamic," which includes a number of sects that emerged out of Islam such as Ibadhi, Ahmadi, Alevi, Yazidi, and Khariji. They follow a blend of religious practices. They hear the teachings of Islam, the dominant religion in the region, but turn to ancient practices in an attempt to appease the spirits. Their fear of spirits sometimes leads them to build special "ancestor houses" to ward off curses.

Operation World reports that although evangelical congregations outnumber sacred fetish groves for the first time in Cote d 'Ivoire's history, animism's power remains unbroken and infiltrates deep into the worldview and practices of both Christians and Muslims. Many believers are affected by the power of African traditional religion, especially through fetish charms and ancestor worship, compromising both their witness and their own life in Christ.

Tribal groups in the north and pockets of tribes all over the country are becoming Muslim. There is a high concentration of Muslims in the cities of Cote d 'Ivoire, and many who move to the cities convert to Islam. Foreign missionaries are still welcomed. The government is receptive to mission activity and development.

A small percentage of Koyaga Jula people profess Christianity. Though they may be ostracized for their faith, believers don't face violent persecution.

The Koyaga churches are beginning to see growth, although they are still small in numbers.

What Are Their Needs?

The Jula Bible has been completed along with radio broadcasts and the JESUS Film. Many resources are available in French, the official trade language. Only GRN audio resources are available in Koyaga, their heart language.

Many believers are affected by the power of African traditional religion, especially through fetish charms and ancestor worship, compromising both their witness and their own lives in Christ.

Prayer Points

African missionaries live by faith on very little income. Pray that God will supply all their needs through the local church.
Pray that Christ followers will be zealous to win the Koyaka Jula people to Christ.
Pray that the Koyaga Jula church will find new strength as God is revealed through His Word.
Pray for a strong disciple making movement to emerge among the Jula Koyaga people.

Text Source:   Keith Carey