The Daju of North Central Africa
A cluster of 5 groups in 2 countries.
The Daju of Dar Dadju of Chad, The Daju of Dar Sila of Chad, The Dar Fur Daju of Sudan, The Dar Sila Daju of Sudan, The Shatt of Sudan.
The Daju in Chad call themselves "Daju Sila," and those in Sudan call themselves "Fininga." Some of the other groups are either named after the regions they occupy or after the distinct dialects of Daju they speak.
Daju is an Eastern Sudanic language. Young Daju children attend village classes where they are taught to chant the Koran in Arabic. Consequently, most of them grow up bilingual.
What are their lives like?
The homes of the Daju villages are usually round and have cone-shaped roofs. Town homes are generally rectangular in shape, with mud-brick walls and flat roofs. Young boys and girls of the villages become members of social groups and work groups. They perform community chores such as keeping the villages clean and organizing village dances.
The Daju are a patriarchal society in which the families are dominated by the older men. All parents desire to have a male heir, so sons are pampered while they are young children. When a boy reaches adolescence, his "representative" will approach the parents of a young girl and propose marriage. Young men are given many responsibilities, such as preparing the fields for cultivation, planting the crops, buying the livestock, and trading in the market.
Daju women are subordinate to the men. A woman's responsibilities include sowing the millet and sorghum, grinding the grain, preparing the meals, buying dry meat in the marketplace, selling chickens and eggs, and bearing as many children as possible. Wives are expected to please their husbands and to raise the children without the aid of their husbands.
The Daju women have many unique beauty customs. They whiten their teeth with sticks; tattoo their eyelids, gums, and lips with acacia thorns; and often remain bare-breasted among relatives.
At one time, a sultan (Muslim ruler) had total authority over all of the Daju tribes. Today, however, sultans only possess nominal authority, such as presiding over religious ceremonies. The sultanship is passed down from father to son, and the family of a sultan is granted special rights and privileges. The Daju tribes are subdivided into clans (extended family groups), and each clan has a leader called letuge. The letuge is responsible for assisting the sultan, as well as helping to give direction during times of war.
The Daju take great pride in their past war victories. They have a reputation among their neighbors and former French and British colonial administrators as being an explosive, warlike people. This is partially due to the fact that their mountainous homeland has made them difficult to control.
What are their beliefs?
Although the Daju are almost entirely Muslim and follow Islamic teachings daily, they do not do so in the strictest sense. For example, Friday prayer at the mosque is not attended by all, and the restriction of alcohol is often ignored. In addition, many of their traditional animistic beliefs have been retained and mixed in with their Islamic beliefs. In their animist religion, cults are formed, good and bad spirits are believed in, and witchcraft is practiced.
What are their needs?
All of the Daju tribes are 100% Malikite Muslims except for the Shatt of Sudan, who are 97% Sunni Muslims. It is only among the Shatt that any Daju Christians have been found. Much intercession and evangelistic efforts are needed to reach these tribes with the Gospel.
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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