Butawa in Nigeria

The Butawa have only been reported in Nigeria
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Butu-Ningi, also known as the Butawa, are a small ethnic group found in the Ningi plateau region in the Bauchi Province of Nigeria. Some have also settled in the Kano Province. Burra is their capital, where they claim to have lived for many generations. Their language Ningawa is rapidly disappearing; Hausa is the language spoken by most. Even Butawa children are now taught the dominant Hausa language.

In culture, politics, and geography, the Butawa, are similar to the Warji and Afawa peoples; in religion, they have been greatly influenced by their dominant Hausa and Kanuri neighbors who are Muslim. Consequently, although there is a secondary public school nearby, the Butawa prefer to send their children to Islamic schools. Butawa also have begun to follow the customs of the Hausa, for example in the way they dress and in their yearly festivals. Some believe that if such adaptations persist, the Butawa tribe will cease to exist as a distinct people.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Butawa earn their living by farming. Guinea corn and millet are their staple crops. Some Butawa keep animals such as sheep, goats, and cattle. Nomads from the Fulani tribe often tend the animals for the Butawa. Butawa also engage in hunting, fishing, and especially trade (due to Hausa influence). Some Butawa have become specialized, for example as barbers or blacksmiths. Since Butawa are famous for their knowledge of medicinal herbs, some also have become herbalists. Ritual specialists such as cult-priest and drummers are also found among them.

Butawa marriages are usually done by exchange: A girl from one clan will marry into another clan. That clan, in turn, will supply the first clan with a girl from one of its families. If an exchange is not possible or the girl does not agree, sometimes a "bride-price" (a gift to the girl's clan) will be paid. Divorce is very rare and there is no courtship among young couples.

After giving birth, a mother will remain secluded for several days, after which time she will stand with her child in front of her hut. She then will be greeted by friends and presented with food from her husband. Afterward her child will be given an ancestral name.

The initiation rite of boys is very important for the Butawa. Boys over seven years of age are brought to the sacred grove of the forest to be circumcised. For two months, they are secluded, except when the village men bring them food. During this time, with the help of the dodo (masked ancestral image), they are taught the secrets of the tribe, urged to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors, and taught to respect their fathers and elder brothers.

The Butawa have several cultural festivals, some of which they still celebrate today. The Gwarma Gom is a thanksgiving to the gods each January, during which Butawa compose and sing new songs. In their mourning festival every two years, Butawa remember the dead. They visit graves and shrines, sprinkling them with blood, and the dodo dances in public. There is also a youth festival in which the youth dance to demonstrate their strength and power.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Recently, the Butawa have begun to accept Islam as their religion. Less than half of all Butawa still follow their traditional ethnic beliefs. They traditionally worship family gods and ancestors at village shrines or in secret hidden places in the forests or in rocks.

The cult of the dodo is extremely important to the Butawa. They value tribal secrets and practice religious traditions handed down from their ancestors. Butawa also believe certain people have the power to turn themselves into animals, especially elephants.


What Are Their Needs?

A large majority have not had an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Much evangelistic work and prayer are needed for this tribe to be exposed to the Gospel.


Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send forth qualified laborers who understand Butawa culture to work with the people.
Pray that God will give Butawa believers boldness to share the love of Jesus with their own people.
Pray that Butawa leaders and other key figures from among the people will be saved.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing Butawa church for the glory of His name!


Scripture Prayers for the Butawa in Nigeria.


Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-02-12
People Name General Butawa
People Name in Country Butawa
Pronunciation BOO-too-wa
Population this Country 67,000
Population all Countries 67,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Butu-Ningi; Gamo-Ningi; Hausa, Ajami
People ID 11815
ROP3 Code 117450
Country Nigeria
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Gombe states. Spoken as L2 in north   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country Nigeria
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Gombe states. Spoken as L2 in north.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Map of Butawa in Nigeria Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
3.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
97.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Hausa (67,000 speakers)
Language Code hau   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Hausa (67,000 speakers)
Language Code hau   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Hausa

Primary Language:  Hausa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1857-1988)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1880-1965)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1932-2020)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings DAVAR Partners recording, complete Bible DAVAR Partners International
Audio Recordings Online Audio Scripture Talking Bibles
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Oral Bible Stories Story Runners
Audio Recordings Oral Bible Stories Story Runners
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Hausa Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Walking with Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2023  i_am_zews - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more