Introduction / History
The Konyanka Maninka are a sub-group of the Maninka, also called the Malinke. They are descendants of the people of the once great Mali Empire. The empire amassed a great fortune by taxing the trade of gold and ivory in the region. Before becoming a part of the empire, the Mande were credited with revolutionizing agriculture in the area. They discovered the use of millet, which is still their staple food. They speak a language called Konyanka Maninka, one of the many similar dialects spoken by Maninka peoples in West Africa.
What Are Their Lives Like?
A majority of the Konyanka Maninka, like their ancestors, earn their living as farmers. They have grown cotton for centuries, as well as many grains and cereals. They also raise cattle, but they are primarily used in ceremonies or to gain prestige within the community. Very few people drink the milk. Quite a number of Konyanka travel long distances from home to work as merchants. The Konyanka live in large, walled-in villages. Within the villages, extended families live in separate, fenced-in compounds. Their dwellings are round, thatch-roof huts made of mud and sun-dried brick. The compounds are composed of clans who share a common surname. Such groups are normally associated with distinct totems (animals or plants that serve as emblems of the clans) and certain food prohibitions. Although each village is ruled by its own chief, the oldest descendants of the first settlers are counted as nobility and also have a certain amount of authority. There is a clear social order among the Konyanka Maninka that ranges from nobility to commoners. The lowest and most despised class consists of craftsmen and former slaves. Their society is patriarchal, or male-dominated. The line of descent is traced through the fathers, and inheritances are passed down through the males. Men commonly have more than one wife. Konyanka children belong to "age-sets" until they marry. An age-set is a three or four year interval, with every child born in those years belonging to the same set. The children in an age-set go to school together and work together. A typical Konyanka meal consists of steamed rice covered with a spicy stew of vegetables and meat or fish. Mangoes, bananas, oranges, papayas, and cashews help to balance their diet. Usually, Konyanka Maninka women do all the domestic chores as well as the rice cultivation. Frequently, they perform these tasks with their babies tied to their backs. The Konyanka Maninka respect people who are honest, logical and who can easily express themselves. They do not approve of dishonesty, but manipulation and deception are often methods of "getting ahead" in their society. For this reason, they are often suspicious of others, even their closest friends.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Konyanka Maninka practice ethnic religions and Islam. Islam was first introduced in West Africa by traveling Muslim merchants. Since the Konyanka Maninka were not required by Islamic leaders to abandon their old customs and mystical beliefs, Islam was simply mixed with their traditional religions. It is not uncommon for a Konyanka Maninka to first say prayers in the mosque then go and sacrifice a chicken to the "spirit of the village. " Divination, healing, and casting spells are all important components of their traditional religion.
What Are Their Needs?
Prayer is the first step towards seeing a full movement to Christ among them.
Pray for the Lord to bless the Konyanka Maninka's harvests as a testimony of his sovereignty and goodness. Pray for Konyanka Maninka leaders to open the door to Christ's ambassadors. Pray for the Lord to thrust out Holy Spirit anointed workers among the Konyanka Maninka people. Pray for a powerful Disciple Making Movement among every Maninka people.
Scripture Prayers for the Konyanka in Guinea.