Tanala in Madagascar

Tanala
Photo Source:  Anonymous 
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People Name: Tanala
Country: Madagascar
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,461,000
World Population: 1,461,000
Primary Language: Malagasy, Merina
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 22.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.04 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Malagasy
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Prior to the French conquest of Madagascar in 1895, the Tanala people were in two basic groups. The Merina tribe dominated one, and the others were under the control of independent fiefdoms. They are still in these two basic categories. The Tanala Menabe live in the northern mountainous region and the Tanala Ikongo are in the south.

What Are Their Lives Like?

We have always known them as forest dwellers. The Tanala know how to produce excellent products from wood to sell to outsiders. They find valuable things in the forest to sell: beeswax, honey, etc. When they farm, they practice the inefficient slash-and-burn method. Their staple food is rice, but they also grow sweet potatoes, corn and coffee.


The Tanala family is patrilineal, meaning that the line of descent is through the father. They build their homes on stilts for better security and protection from water.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Tanala people are animists who venerate spirits they believe have control over them. They believe there are spirits all around us. Islam has not reached them, nor have many gospel workers. There is a Christian minority among them, but not enough for them to have a movement to Christ.

What Are Their Needs?

The Tanala people need to learn modern farming techniques so they can get a bigger harvest each year. There are thousands of Christian believers in Africa who can help train them in this area.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Tanala elders to decide that Jesus offers the way and the truth to their people.


Pray for a movement to Christ this decade among the Tanala people.


Pray for the Lord to thrust out his ambassadors to go to the Tanala people.

Text Source:   Joshua Project