The Gera of Nigeria
The Gera claim to have come from Misera in Sudan, living in various places before settling near Bauchi. Because the first Emir (chief) of Bauchi was a Gera, the Gera remain the most influential tribe in that region. The whole Bauchi area is draped with various hills and mountains. Rivers and streams in the area create a fertile soil, able to sustain year-round cultivation.
In contrast to many of their neighbors, the Gera are quite modern. Many are educated; some are businessmen; and others even hold high positions in government. Most, however, are still farmers, growing millet and guinea corn on their land, as well as raising cattle and other livestock.
What are their lives like?
Each sub-group of the Gera has its own Nallo (ruler). He has his own council that helps him make decisions, along with the elders of the town. When a Nallo dies, the elders present some men from the royal family to the people. From these men, the people will vote for the new Nallo.
Each group of boys between the ages of seven and nine is circumcised together. Taken into the bush for a month, the boys are initiated into the religious life of their people by the elders and dodo (masked occult figure). This time is also a training period for manhood. After the month is completed, a seven day feast is held, and the boys are brought back to their parents by the dodo, who dances with the people in the village upon the boys' return.
After circumcision, the boy's father will begin looking for a wife for his son by approaching a girl's father with a marriage proposal. If the girl agrees, the two will begin a courtship when the boy reaches the age of seventeen. During courtship, the boy must work on the farm of the girl's father every year for five years. After the payment of the bride-price to the girl's parents, a feast is held. At that time, the girl is taken to the groom's house, where another celebration will begin. That evening, the groom will arrive at his house and the couple will begin their life together as husband and wife.
When a woman gives birth to her first child, she remains in her husband's house until the seventh day after birth, when a naming ceremony takes place. Then, the woman and child are taken to the home of the maternal grandparents, where they will remain for two years. This is done as a means of birth control.
What are their beliefs?
The dodo is the embodiment of a strong supernatural power who has several functions. Among other things, he prays to Kpa on behalf of the people for good crops and a blessed rainy season.
Priests among the tribe are believed to possess the ability to commune with the spirits and to know what is going on at all times by spiritual means.
What are their needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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