Somali Bantu in United States

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People Name: Somali Bantu
Country: United States
10/40 Window: No
Population: 54,000
World Population: 1,080,200
Primary Language: Maay
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
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

Bantu is a major cluster of Black African peoples from southern and eastern Africa. Some of these people were taken as slaves to Somalia by Arab Muslims in the 1800s, and generations later they became known as Somali Bantu. Ethnically they are not Somali, and they speak a non-Somali language.

During the 1990s, civil war raged in Somalia, and these despised people had their land taken from them, many were killed, and women were raped. They fled to refugee camps in neighboring Kenya where they languished for roughly 10 years before some of them were sent to start new lives in the United States. The first Somali Bantu people arrived in the US in the early 2000s. They are still adjusting to life in America.

Where Are they Located?

Most Somali Bantu live in Somalia or Kenya, but a few are able to come to the United States. They live in cities like Atlanta, Columbus, Salt Lake City, and Pittsburgh where their skills as farmers are almost useless.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Efforts to re-settle the Somali Bantus have been difficult. They don't have the job skills or education needed for America's economy. They have needed housing, which isn't affordable except in depressed areas like Pittsburgh, where there is already a serious problem with unemployment.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Somali Bantu are marginally Sunni Muslim. A few are Roman Catholic. Their spiritual lives are affected by traditional animistic religion.

What Are Their Needs?

The Somali Bantu desperately need someone to help them until they are ready to stand on their own feet. They need language and job skills. Believers who are able to help them with these needs would be very welcome.

Prayer Points

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 would find their Heavenly Father.
Pray that the Somali Bantu will encounter the generosity and love of Christ through his followers in Kenya and the United States.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to birth a cascading discipleship movement among the Somali Bantu people in the US.

Text Source:   Keith Carey