Nanumba in Ghana

The Nanumba have only been reported in Ghana
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Nanumba are located in eastern Ghana, primarily in the northern part of the Bimbila district, between the White Volta and Oti Rivers. Their language, also called Nanumba, is identical to a Gur language known as Dagbani. Many Nanumba also speak Hausa as a language of trade.

Although Nanumba claims to be an independent state, it has always been closely associated with its more powerful sister-state, Dagomba. Due to tribal wars, especially with the Konkomba, the population of Nanumba has recently been reduced significantly. In 1981, the Nanumba voted for the union of British Togo with Ghana and won, sending resentful, angry Konkomba across the border without farmlands. However, the inter-ethnic war cost the Nanumba hundreds of lives. Today, there is still dissension between the two tribes. More recently, there have been violent coups all over Ghana-the worst reported in the country's history.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Nanumba are farmers. They grow yams, peanuts, and corn on the open grasslands. Most farm work is done by the men; however, the women often assist in harvesting. The Nanumba also have side occupations such as weaving and carving. Crafted items are used for trade and as a means of subsidizing their meager agricultural earnings. Some of the Nanumba men also leave their homes for several months to work on southern cocoa plantations. Hunting and fishing are also important, and the meat is shared among all of the villagers.

The Nanumba have a relatively low standard of living. Kerosene stoves are available, but other commodities such as electricity and pure drinking water remain very poor. Water is drawn from a dammed river. This poor system causes bone diseases due to the Guinea worms that are prevalent in the water.

The Nanumba live in compact, oval-shaped, walled villages. Each household consists of related men, their wives, and their children. Their round, clay huts must be rebuilt every five years due to rain damage. The villages have no central building. The chief owns the land and leases portions of it to each family.

The Nanumba have a large family system, which is divided into hierarchically arranged clan units. The clan elders exercise moral authority over their units. The chief, who can only be the son of a previous chief, controls the judicial system, while the police enforce social control. The society is patrilineal, which means that the line of descent is traced through the males. However, spiritual attributes are recognized matrilineally, or through the females.

The most famous festival among the Nanumba is the Yam Festival. During this celebration they enjoy singing and dancing. The Nanumba still wear their traditional clothing. The children go to school when they reach the age of six; however, their primary duties include house work. Today, there is one state college in the Nanumba region.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of the Nanumba practice ethnic religions. For many generations, they have practiced idol worship. Their traditional religion teaches that the "high creator" is unapproachable. They worship the spirits of their deceased ancestors as well as spirits of nature. The clan elders are the custodians of their ancestral shrines. Diviners are consulted about major crises or decisions.

Most of the Nanumba have become Muslim. The Nanumba Muslims celebrate festivals of the Islamic calendar, but they do not circumcise their male children.

What Are Their Needs?

Additional missionaries and Christian materials are needed to effectively reach the Nanumba with the Gospel. Medical teams and supplies are also needed to minister to their physical needs.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Nanumba in Ghana.

* Pray that God will use the Nanumba believers to share the love of Jesus with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to any missions agencies laboring among the Nanumba.
* Ask the Lord to raise up additional laborers to go into Ghana and work among these people.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of the Nanumba leaders to receive the Gospel.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Nanumba.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-02-18
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-02-19
People Name General Nanumba
People Name in Country Nanumba
World Population 73,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Nunuma
People ID 13950
ROP3 Code 107080
Country Ghana
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Northeast Tamale area, as far as Yendi   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Ghana
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Northeast Tamale area, as far as Yendi.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Dagbani (73,000 speakers)
Language Code dag   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Nanuni
Dialect Code 9071   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Dagbani (73,000 speakers)
Language Code dag   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Nanuni
Dialect Code 9071   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Dagbani

Primary Language:  Dagbani

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1935-1955)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1974)
Bible-Complete Yes  (2006-2012)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Dagbani
Film / Video Walk with Jesus (Africa, JF Project)
Text / Printed Matter Malak Christian Book Centre
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
0.20 %
Ethnic Religions
20.00 %
0.00 %
79.80 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
30.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
30.0 %
Roman Catholic
40.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2020  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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