Somali Bantu in Somalia

Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Somali Bantu
Country: Somalia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 852,000
World Population: 1,022,100
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

The Somali Bantus are an African minority ethnic group. They originally were brought to Somalia in the 19th century as slaves by Arabs. They are culturally, physically, and ethnically different from the Somalis who are ethnically cohesive but divided by hostile clans. Somali Bantus speak two languages known as Maay-Maay and Zigua. When civil war broke out in Somalia, many Somali Bantus were driven from their homes and farms by armed Somali militiamen. Fleeing for their lives, they walked through dangerous territory to reach Kenya. Many died along the way. They were placed in refugee camps. Today most live along the riverbanks of southern Somalia or further south into Kenya. A smaller number live in either Canada or the United States.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The different Somali Bantu groups are united primarily because of the racial discrimination they face within Somalia. Most Somalis will not intermarry with Somali Bantus, and some will not even eat with them or enter their house. During the civil war in Somalia, Somali Bantus were one of the most vulnerable groups and suffered horribly at the hands of clan militias and criminal gangs. Many have left Somalia.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Somali Bantus are Muslim in name only. Some living in Africa continue to practice their traditional animist rituals. Many have retained their ancestral animist traditions, including the practice of spirit possession dances, animism and the use of magic and curses. It was never Almighty God’s intent that people live this way! He died to set men free from sin and spiritual oppression.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Somali Bantus to depend on God Almighty for their physical and spiritual needs. Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Somali Bantus in Somalia. Pray for a movement to Christ among the Somali Bantus this decade. Pray for the Somali Bantus who have fled to Kenya and the United States to be salt and light to their family members in Somalia.

Text Source:   Joshua Project