Somali Bantu in Kenya

Somali Bantu
Photo Source:  Sergeant G.D. Robinson 
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People Name: Somali Bantu
Country: Kenya
10/40 Window: No
Population: 113,000
World Population: 963,100
Primary Language: Maay
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.05 %
Evangelicals: 0.05 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Bantu, Swahili
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Over 200 years ago Arab traders took people from their homes in Mozambique and Malawi to become slaves in Somalia. This slavery persisted until the 1930s, but the Bantu remained severely oppressed, rejected by Somali society. The Somali Bantu refer to themselves as Bantu and have low status in Somalia. Most of them speak Af-Maay. They are mostly farmers who eat their own produce.

The Somali civil war of the 1990s was used as an excuse to steal land and property from the Bantu. Many were raped, beaten, and killed during this time. Fleeing to Kenya, many Bantu found refuge in camps where a sizable number remain waiting to find a permanent home.

Where Are they Located?

Most of these refugees in Kenya are either in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in northeastern Kenya or the Kakuma Refugee Camp in the northwest.

What Are Their Lives Like?

They mostly marry among themselves and there are few marriages between them and the Somalis. Bantu Somalis in Kenyan refugee camps live in dire poverty and squalor. Some have tried to start small businesses. Women are often raped and men beaten if they go outside the camp to find firewood. Many of them are being relocated to Tanzania or the United States.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of them are Muslims but some became Catholics and some are animists.

What Are Their Needs?

The Somali Bantu people in Kenya need a permanent home where they can earn a living and find education for their children.

Prayer Points

* Pray that the troubles the Somali Bantu have had will lead them to Jesus Christ.
* Pray for a Bible studies and disciple-making movements to start in refugee camps.
* Pray that the Somali Bantu will encounter the generosity and love of Christ through His followers in Kenya and the United States.
* Pray that their hearts will be opened to the gospel as their physical needs are met.
* Pray for peace and prosperity for the Somali Bantu, and that this displaced people will soon find their Heavenly Father.

Text Source:   Global Prayer Digest