Nubian, Kunuz in Egypt

Nubian, Kunuz
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People Name: Nubian, Kunuz
Country: Egypt
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 61,000
World Population: 61,000
Primary Language: Mattokki
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.05 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Nubian
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Seven non-Arab Muslim tribes that originated in the Nubia region are the Nubian people. They live in an area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Dongola in northern Sudan. This territory was a crossroads between Egypt and the African tribal kingdoms.
The Ottoman Empire encroached upon the Nubian region between the 1500's until the 1800's. As a result, many Nubians migrated to remote areas along the Nile. Distinct groups evolved and were named according to their locations. For example, those who settled near the Wadi Kenuz became known as the Kenuzi; those who settled in Dongola became known as the Dongolawi. Many Nubian villages in the 1960's flooded as a result of construction of the Aswan High Dam. About 100,000 Nubians were forced to resettle in "New Nubia," 20 miles north of Aswan. Others relocated to Uganda and Kenya. Most Nubian groups speak their own dialect of the Nubian language. For example, the Kunuz speak Mattokki. However, many also speak Egyptian Arabic, which is the language of media and trade. Although their languages are different, each group is identical in social, economic and cultural organization.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Nubian economy is based on agriculture. They grow wheat, barley, millet, beans, peas, and watermelons during the winter months. Mangoes, citrus fruits and palm dates are also part of the Nubian diet. One of their basic staple foods is a thin, course bread called dura. They eat it with vegetables and date jelly.
Men sometimes must migrate to big cities to find work, while the women farm the land, care for the animals and do household chores. Some women have also found employment as schoolteachers, public service workers and seamstresses. Some men now own grocery stores or drive cabs.
The typical Nubian house is very spacious, with several large rooms that accommodate the extended family members and guests. An open courtyard is in the center of each home. The front of the house is colorfully painted with geometric patterns. Most paintings and decorations on the homes have religious connotations. Colorful designs are a distinctive and admired feature of Nubian culture.
The literacy rate among Nubians is high in comparison to their rural Egyptian neighbors. Primary and secondary schools have been established in New Nubia, and there are also teacher-training facilities in the area.
Nubians practice lengthy religious and agricultural ceremonies. However, since relocation, the ceremonies have been shortened and are now limited to the villages. During these ceremonies, the Nubians express themselves through singing, dancing and beating drums.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Nubians were converted to Christianity during the sixth century. They remained so until the gradual process of Islamization began taking place from the fourteenth until the seventeenth centuries. Today, the Nubians are almost all Muslims. However, their traditional animistic beliefs (belief that non-living objects and animals have spirits) are still mingled with their Islamic practices.
The traditional beliefs of the Nubians were centered on the spirit of the Nile River. They believe the Nile has life-sustaining power and it holds the power of life and death within it. The people believe that the river is endowed with angels, sheiks (religious leaders), and other powerful beings. The sheiks are sought daily for their advice in the areas of health, fertility, and marriage.
These people depend upon good works to pay the penalty for their sins. They depend upon the spirit world for their daily needs because they regard Allah as too distant. They believe that Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well they live in their daily lives. Consequently, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.

What Are Their Needs?

Intense prayer, increased evangelism efforts, and additional Christian resources are necessary to reach Nubian tribes.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Lord will raise up laborers who are willing to invest long term service as disciple makers and church planters to the Kunuz Nubian people of Egypt. Ask the Lord to save key leaders among Kunuz Nubian people who will boldly declare the gospel.
Ask God to send medical teams and humanitarian aid workers to minister to the Kunuz Nubian people.
Pray that strong local churches will be planted among each of the Nubian tribes.

Text Source:   Joshua Project