The Songhai Empire of West Africa of the 15th and 16th centuries was based on trade. Textiles, weapons and horses came North Africa. Slaves, salt and gold came up from the south. After the Songhai Empire fell to an army from Morocco, the majority of the common people stayed in Mali and Niger while many nobles traveled south to start a new life. The vast majority of the Songhai-Koyraboro live in Mali and Niger. A small group of Songhai-Koyraboro lives in northwest Nigeria near the Benin and Niger borders.
Since the Songhai constitute such a small number of people in Nigeria, they try to keep a low profile. The Muslim government generally leaves them alone. At times jihadist harass the Songhai but most of the time jihadists attack Christian and animist villages and towns. Songhai-Koyraboro men work the fields growing millet, grains, ground nuts, manioc, and maize. Women take care of children, have small plots of land and grow fruits and vegetables. Some families also raise cattle and goats for their meat and hides. A Songhai man may marry up to four wives if he can afford them. Most men have only one wife. Songhai parents encourage their sons to get a secondary education. Most girls may only attend primary schools for a few years before they begin working with their mothers to support the family. Young men get married in their middle twenties. Girls marry in their early or middle teens. First born sons often are pressured to marry a cousin in order to keep the wealth in the family. Elders rule village life making the judicial decisions and conducting affairs with outsiders. Songhai society was traditional with sons following the profession of their fathers. In previous times there were three castes among the Songhai community, nobles, peasants, and slaves.
Almost all Songhai-Koyraboro in Nigeria are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. Their Islam is highly influenced by folk religion or a belief that spirits inhabit the objects of nature. Each village has a shaman who performs rituals to stop the evil spirits from bringing drought and harm to the harvest and animals. The shaman also gives out charms and amulets to protect the people. The Songhai-Koyraboro try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. Friday is the day of rest in which Sunnis attend the local mosque.
Most Songhai-Koyraboro live simple, adequate lives except in times of drought. Unfortunately, these droughts occur regularly and have left many children as orphans. Malnutrition is a problem for many Songhai. A majority of the Songhai-Koyraboro have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel in their heart language. Christian workers can share the love of Jesus with the Songhai in practical ways.
* Scripture Prayers for the Songhai-Koyraboro in Nigeria.
Ask the Lord to send Christian agricultural workers, educators, and medical personnel to serve the Songhai-Koyraboro of Nigeria. Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom to mission agencies focusing on the Songhai. Ask the Lord to save key Songhai leaders who will boldly proclaim the good news. Pray that God will strengthen, embolden and protect the very few Songhai believers. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Koyraboro of Nigeria in this decade.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2007-01-24|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2013-02-18|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2016-02-18|
|People Name General||Songhai-Koyraboro|
|People Name in Country||Songhai-Koyraboro|
|Population this Country||3,400|
|Population all Countries||2,038,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Alternate Names||East Songhai; Gao; Singhai; Songoy; Sonrhai; West Songhai|
|Region||Africa, West and Central|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||9 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Primary Language||Songhay, Koyraboro Senni (3,400 speakers)|
|Language Code||ses Ethnologue Listing|
|Language Written||Yes ScriptSource Listing|
Primary Language: Songhay, Koyraboro Senni
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (2014)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament (FCBH)|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Songhay, Koyraboro Senni|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|General||Resources in Songhay|
|Mobile App||Scripture files - download|
|Text / Printed Matter||Bible: Songhai de Gao - Koyraboro Senni Songhai|
|Text / Printed Matter||Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)|
|Text / Printed Matter||World Missionary Press Booklets|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.16 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|