The Comorian of Mayotte.
The Comorians living in Mayotte are a blend of settlers from the past: Iranian traders, mainland Africans, Arabs, and Malagasy. They make up 85,000 of the total 90,000 inhabitants of the island. Comorian communities can also be found in other parts of the Comoros chain as well as in Madagascar.
Three of the four largest Comoros islands declared their independence from France in 1975, but Mayotte chose to remain a French possession. Although the Comorian government considers Mayotte part of the Federal Republic of the Comoros, the people of Mayotte have voted to remain under French rule. The island is officially known as "The Territorial Collectivity of Mayotte."
What are their lives like?
The island of Mayotte is very poor and undeveloped. Due to the shortage of good farmland, much of the food must be imported. The basic diet of the Comorians consists of rice, potatoes, corn, fish, coconuts, and bananas. Other crops that are grown are sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and pineapples.
Although young people wear Western style clothing, traditional clothing is still common among the adults. While in town, a Comorian man will typically wear a white cotton garment and a knee-length shirt, sometimes with a white jacket and white skull cap. Out of town, a long cloth sarong (colorful skirt) is worn. Most women wear long, colorful cotton dresses with bright shawls as face coverings. Others prefer wearing black robes that cover their heads.
Polygamy is an acceptable practice among the Comorians. Children are expected to help with family duties such as farming, fishing, and caring for the animals. For recreation they enjoy dancing, singing, and playing instruments, especially horns and drums.
About 60% of the Comorians live in cities; but whether in rural or urban areas, housing on the island is generally poor. Although French is the official language of Mayotte, Mauri is the native language spoken by the Comorians.
What are their beliefs?
Traditionally, the Comorians have been very resistant to any kind of religious change; however, they are gradually becoming more indifferent.
What are their needs?
The spiritual needs of the Comorians are even greater. Though there is freedom of religion in Mayotte, evangelism is not well received by these Shafiite Muslims. Their commitment to Islam, coupled with involvement in occult practices, has made the Comorians difficult to reach.
Only portions of the Bible have been translated into Mauri. Although there are Christian broadcasts available on the island, there are only 17 known believers. Seventy percent (nearly 60,000) of the people having never once heard the Gospel message.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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