Bozo, Tegue in Burkina Faso

Bozo, Tegue
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People Name: Bozo, Tegue
Country: Burkina Faso
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,600
World Population: 324,600
Primary Language: Bozo, Tieyaxo
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Soninke
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Bozo comes from the Bambara term for straw house; it’s a reference to dwellings in temporary fishing camps. People use this term for an entire ethnic group. "Bozo" is really three distinct people groups speaking four varieties of the so called Bozo language. One of these is Tieyaxo, the language of the Tegue Bozo people.

The Tegue Bozo live mostly in the Mopti region in the interior delta. Almost all are in Mali, but some live in Burkina Faso.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Bozo people highly value community. This is true whether they are village elders or women at a communal water well. Many of them are fishermen and there are fishing camps made up of straw huts. The Bozo also work in rice fields. Their homes are usually sun-dried, mud-brick houses in small, compact villages or straw huts in camps along the riverside.

Tegue Bozo women are often maintaining their fires, pounding millet for porridge, scrubbing blackened pots and other chores to prepare meals. They also spin cotton and do other various chores. Women prepare fish for selling and sell it in the market.

Things are changing for the Tegue Bozo as their lives are becoming more modernized. Some have cell phones, videos, and satellite TV. These are making a tremendous impact on the society. There is increased accessibility by boat or road, making travel easier and more possible. The Tegue Bozo people are becoming more aware of the world around them.

Educational opportunities are increasing. More are going to school. Getting education is difficult for rural people like the Bozos because they seldom understand French, Burkina Faso’s language of education. In some West African countries, missionaries are promoting Bozo literacy in government schools.

Bozo society is patriarchal (male dominated). Unmarried men live in special bachelor huts in the villages, and married couples live with the husband’s family. The prospective groom gives gifts to the bride’s parents and performs a bride-service. He must also pay a bride-price, but sometimes, instead of a bride-price, the two families exchange women. Some families practice polygyny (having over one wife), but as Muslims, a man is limited to four wives.

Bozo land is owned by the community and is administered by the community’s headman, who lives in an interior court in the center of the village. The headman handles the affairs of the village community. He is the clan chief.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Tegue Bozo people have been Muslims for about two to three generations and do not have any Christian background. They are a smaller, nearby people group that have churches, thus giving the impression that Christianity is okay for someone else. France colonialists left a terrible impression on the Bozo peoples concerning how Christians behave.

Beneath the Muslim surface, there is a strong animistic undercurrent. They already have their own distinctive religious systems and worldviews. It will be important to enter Bozo society and gradually become accepted. This people group will probably not respond to being directly evangelized.

What Are Their Needs?

Tribes are vanishing faster than mission organizations are translating Scripture into their languages. Tribal groups are much like refugees, living in perpetual fear of aggression from other tribes or powerful civilizations. Often, they can survive by finding out how to live where no one else would want the land.

It is important to realize that the Bozos are a nomadic people and are thus on the move. Missionaries must travel with them much like the Muslim missionaries did who reached them in the past.

Prayer Points

Pray that mission organizations and churches will accept the challenge of adopting and reaching the Tegue Bozo of Burkina Faso.
Ask the Lord to send loving followers of Christ from Africa to the Tegue Bozo to make disciples who will make more disciples.
Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Tegue Bozo and use them to open the door to this community being blessed by Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project