Betsimisaraka, North in Madagascar

Betsimisaraka, North
Photo Source:  Eric Mathey 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Betsimisaraka, North
Country: Madagascar
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,799,000
World Population: 1,799,000
Primary Language: Malagasy, Northern Betsimisaraka
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 35.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.21 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Malagasy
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

At one time the Betsimisaraka had three subgroups that fought among themselves. The European powers arrived in the 1700s-1800s to sell them arms in exchange for slaves. There were unions between the Europeans and the North Betsimisaraka resulting in mulatto children.

Today the Betsimisaraka are divided into two subgroups, one of which is the North Betsimisaraka. This division is along linguistic lines. They live along the east coast of Madagascar.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The North Betsimisaraka use women as porters. Women carry loads either on their heads or on their backs. The man is the head of the house, but the wife has absolute say when it comes to issues of the home. She is allowed to inherit property.

They practice slash and burn agriculture, so they must burn trees to make room for new fields. Their main crops are rice and vanilla, but they also grow sugar cane, coffee, avocados, pineapples and bananas. They usually don’t keep livestock, so their meat sources come from fishing and hunting wild game.

They have a special respect for lemurs and crocodiles.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The North Betsimisaraka people bury their dead deep in the forests where the land is considered sacred. This is where the spirits dwell, so it’s considered dangerous. People never visit these places without a dog or a knife. Along with these ethnic beliefs, there is a Christian presence among the North Betsimisaraka people.

What Are Their Needs?

The North Betsimisaraka people need to put all their faith and hope in Jesus Christ rather than the spirit world.

Prayer Points

Pray for North Betsimisaraka disciples who will make disciples who will make even more disciples.

Pray for spiritual hunger and an understanding of the holiness and goodness of God.

Pray for a Holy Spirit driven revival among the North Betsimisaraka people.

Text Source:   Joshua Project