Yerwa Kanuri in Cameroon


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Kanuri tribes consist of the Yerwa Kanuri, the Manga Kanuri, and several other sub-tribes. The majority of the Kanuri live in the Borno Province of northeastern Nigeria, where they are the dominant people group. They are also located in the countries of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, and areas around Lake Chad. This region was once the powerful Borno Empire, ruled by the ancestors of the Kanuri. Others live in western Sudan.

The Kanuri began losing power in this region when the British took control in 1914. Nevertheless, they have remained politically active and still have much influence on the surrounding people groups. In fact, aspects of Kanuri culture, language, and religion have been adopted by many of the neighboring tribes.

The Kanuri are tall, with a stately, dignified look. This signifies their pride and appreciation for their past as rulers, as well as their present position of leadership and influence. Many speak Hausa, Arabic or another area language in addition to Kanuri.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Yerwa Kanuri are farmers; however, they usually practice some other occupation during the dry season. Those who farm raise millet as their staple crop, and supplement it with sorghum, corn and peanuts. They raise sheep, goats and horses. Among the Kanuri, horses are a symbol of prestige.

The Yerwa Kanuri who live in cities are involved in government jobs, public service, construction, transportation and commerce. The Kanuri who have occupations that are related to politics or religion have a very high social status; whereas those who work as blacksmiths, well-diggers or butchers have a low social status. The majority of the Kanuri, however, are farmers, craftsmen and merchants.

Yerwa Kanuri settlements vary in size; but most contain walled-in compounds surrounding several mud or grass houses with thatched, cone-shaped roofs. These houses are very cool during the hot months. Farmland surrounds each settlement.

Towns serve as local markets and administrative centers for the Yerwa Kanuri. They contain a local school and mosque. Attached to the mosque are smaller schools for religious teachings.

The household (not the family itself) is an important economic unit to the Yerwa Kanuri. The greater the number in a family, the more prestige the family head is given. For this reason young men are often loaned to households to help with field labor, to provide support, and to help in defending the family. In return, the head of the household will clothe the young man, feed him, pay his bride price, and possibly provide a bride for him. At that time, he will leave and start his own household. This type of relationship is widespread in Kanuri society. It is similar to the father-son relationship in that supreme loyalty and respect is given to the head of the household at all times.

Like most children, the Yerwa Kanuri children often play games with each other. Even before puberty, children learn the roles they will take on when they reach maturity.

Yerwa Kanuri men marry while they are in their early twenties. Polygamy is common and a man may have as many as four wives. Girls marry while they are in their teens. Ideally, a man wants his first wife to be a young virgin. However, the bride price for a virgin is quite expensive, so men often take divorced women as their first wives. The divorce rate among the Kanuri is extremely high, with eight out of ten marriages ending in divorce.

The traditional Yerwa Kanuri dress consists of large robe-type garments that are worn with turbans or brightly embroidered caps. The large robes provide protection from the consistent heat. This attire is never worn while working out in the fields, but rather at festivals and Islamic ceremonies.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Yerwa Kanuri have been Muslims since the eleventh century. The Koran emphasizes the importance of the family and the authority of the father. Women are considered inferior to men in Kanuri society.

They still practice certain folk beliefs in conjunction with Islam. They wear charms and amulets around their necks or in pockets. There is a charm to ensure a good pregnancy for a mother. There is also one to keep the ghost of the dead from haunting its descendants.


What Are Their Needs?

Some Kanuri tribes have Bible translation needs in their native language. Additional Christian materials and laborers are desperately needed.


Prayer Points

Ask God to call people who are willing to go to Africa and share the love of Jesus with the Yerwa Kanuri.
Pray that God will use the small number of Kanuri believers to share the gospel with their friends and families.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
Pray that God will grant favor to missions agencies currently focusing on the Yerwa Kanuri.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Yerwa Kanuri.


Scripture Prayers for the Kanuri, Yerwa in Cameroon.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Kanuri, Yerwa
People Name in Country Kanuri, Yerwa
Natural Name Yerwa Kanuri
Pronunciation YUR-wa kuh-NOO-ree
Alternate Names Beriberi; Bornu; Borono; Kanuri; Mober; Yerwa
Population this Country 185,000
Population all Countries 9,037,000
Total Countries 5
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 4
People ID 12509
ROP3 Code 104605
ROP25 Code 303677
ROP25 Name Kanuri
Country Cameroon
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 43  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Far North region: Mayo-Sava division, mainly north of Mora between Limani and Boundéri, and Kolofata subdivisions; Diamaré division, Maroua and Bogo subdivisions; Mayo Kani and Mayo Danay divisions, as far as Mindif and Guirvidig.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Cameroon
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 43  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Far North region: Mayo-Sava division, mainly north of Mora between Limani and Boundéri, and Kolofata subdivisions; Diamaré division, Maroua and Bogo subdivisions; Mayo Kani and Mayo Danay divisions, as far as Mindif and Guirvidig..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Kanuri, Yerwa in Cameroon
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.02 %)
0.02 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
99.98 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Kanuri, Yerwa
Language Code knc   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Kanuri, Yerwa
Language Code knc   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kanuri, Yerwa
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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