The Fula Toro of Senegal
The Futa Toro region has attracted various peoples into its fertile land, and together they make up the Tokolor or Fulbe speaking peoples. The Fula Toro are related to the Fulani people and speak a Fulani dialect. Fulani tribes are often grouped and named according to their locations and dialects. The Fula Toro are semi-nomadic and live in the southern highlands, or jeeri; hence, their language is called Fulbe Jeeri.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Fula Toro are an entirely Muslim people, and this has greatly affected their traditions and customs. Many of them send their children to village schools to learn to pray and recite parts of the Koran. However, while some of them may go on to become priests and leaders of the Islamic faith, most only have a general knowledge of Islam and the Arabic language.
Among the Fula Toro, marriage involves a payment for the bride, which is usually made with cattle. Polygamy is generally practiced up to the Muslim limit of four wives; however, many divorce and remarry. Each wife lives in a separate hut, and the husband moves among his wives.
The village is the principal focus of activity for the Fula Toro. In the middle of each village is a central square. The local market and a town mosque are usually located there. Houses are either rectangular or round, with walls made of sun-dried brick. They are built with flat roofs and have an interior courtyard. Fields that are cultivated by the farmers surround the villages.
Local disputes are handled by the village headman, who lives in the central court, and the imam (Muslim leader) from the mosque. A supreme chief serves as the head of a cluster of villages. His responsibilities include taxing the crops and herds, and settling disputes that cannot be settled by the village headman and imam.
The semi-nomadic Fula Toro wander in bands and live in temporary camps. These camps consist of clusters of portable huts surrounded by thorn hedges. The huts are made of poles covered with mats, leaves, and grass.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The five "pillars" of Islam include affirming that Allah is the only god and Mohammed is his prophet; praying five times a day; giving alms; fasting; and making at least one pilgrimage to Mecca.
Islamic schools have been set up throughout Senegal. While Senegal is both a French-speaking country and a commonwealth of nations advocate, it has remained a prominent member of the Islamic world.
What Are Their Needs?
At the present time, only portions of the Bible have been translated into the Fulbe Jeeri language. Three missions agencies are currently working among the Fula Toro, but have met with little success. Today, there are only 39 known Fula Toro believers. To successfully evangelize these people, we must pray that God will open their eyes to the Truth.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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