The Kolsi of Burkina Faso
The 17,800 Kolsi live primarily in the Mouhoun province of central Burkina Faso. They are part of the Gur cluster of peoples, and their language, Ko, is a part of the Niger-Congo family. Burkina Faso consists of an extensive plateau which is slightly inclined towards the south. The climate of the country is generally dry, and the soil, infertile.
Three principal rivers can be found in Burkina Faso: the Black Volta, Red Volta, and White Volta. Converging to the south in Ghana, these three rivers form the Volta River. In the southwestern part of the country are sandstone plateaus bordered by the 500 feet high Banfora Escarpment. About 90% of the population is rural and lives in some 7,700 villages.
Very little is known about the Kolsi in particular; thus, some assumptions have been made about their lifestyle, based on groups living in close proximity to them. They are thought to be similar in language and culture to the neighboring Sissala.
What are their lives like?
Burkina Faso is home to approximately 80 distinct ethnic groups. The Kolsi represent only a tiny fraction of the population. Their economy is based on farming, with households producing and consuming their own food. Their primary crops include millet, yams, peanuts, rice, and beans. Women care for the household gardens, growing okra, onions, tomatoes, and red peppers. Farming is supplemented by the gathering of nuts and wild fruits, fishing in the rivers, and hunting. Also, animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens are raised.
The Kolsi feel that being poor is a reflection on the entire kinship group as well as on the individual. Therefore, the whole household shares in the work duties. The elder men supervise and control the production and consumption of crops, while the younger men do the heavy farm work, such as clearing the land and tilling. Women may be called upon to help with planting, weeding, and carrying crops back home. Men also hunt and fish, produce medicines, and engage in wood carving and blacksmithing. Women prepare the food, care for the household and children, gather items from the bush, and make pottery.
Kolsi villages are compact and range in size from 200 to 3,000 people. A village is composed of a number of compounds. These are households which include an extended family, or janwuo. The janwuo averages about fifty people and is divided into family households. Extended families that are related paternally live close to one another, separated only by a narrow passageway. This compact organization provides for common defense and also for protection against wild animals and witches.
The birth of children brings joy to the Kolsi and ensures the continuity of the extended family. When a girl gives birth to her first child, she is then considered a woman. Additional children further cement the bond between husband and wife and increase the woman's status. An infant is always near its mother and is coddled and shown affection by other family members, including the father. Since a baby can do no evil, it is very much loved and indulged. Girls remain with their mothers until they are married. Boys, on the other hand, live with a senior male member of the janwuo from the age of six.
What are their beliefs?
Although some of the Kolsi have become Muslim, about 75% are ethnic religionists, still following their traditional religion. They believe that their own moral behavior and rituals are necessary to maintain the order of the universe. Therefore, they believe that the universe cannot exist without humans.
What are their needs?
Almost 5% of the Kolsi have become Christians, with almost 900 known believers. Unfortunately, they have neither the Bible nor the Jesus film available to them in their own language; however, one missions agency is currently working among them. Further evangelism and discipleship of the believers are still needed to see the Church firmly established among the Kolsi.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send additional workers to join the few who are already working among the Kolsi.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom, favor, and creativity to the missions agency that is targeting them.
- Pray that the Bible and the Jesus film will soon be available in the Ko language.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Kolsi through dreams and visions.
- Pray that God will give the Kolsi believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Kolsi bound.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Kolsi church for the glory of His name!
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kolsi
- Country: Burkina Faso
- Their language: Ko (Winye)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 4.9%
- Church members: 887
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 4,300 (25%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 13,500 (75%)
- Country: Burkina Faso
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 17
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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