The Fulani of Sudan
Long ago, the Fulani Muslims desired to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and the holy places in Sudan. Eventually, the Sudan Road became the major pilgrimage route between West Africa and the holy places. Today, nearly 127,000 Fulani live in western Sudan.
The region of Sudan occupied by the Fulani contains vast grasslands where hippopotamuses, lions, and zebras roam. The Fulani lifestyle resembles that of the Fulani in other parts of Africa, since the traditions of a "true" Fulani never change.
What are their lives like?
Throughout the year, the Fulani nomads travel from place to place in search of new and better grazing lands for their herds. Each member of the family has specific duties. The men's responsibilities include herding the cattle, tending to political affairs, treating illnesses, and making plans for traveling. The young men and boys help their fathers tend to the herds. The women's duties include milking the cows, preparing butter and cheese, making the clothes and blankets, and preparing the daily meals. Milk is the staple food of the Fulani. Their daily diet usually includes milk (or milk products) and a millet-based porridge.
The Fulani nomads are known as independent and having a strong code of moral ethics. When a Fulani boy reaches the age of 12, he enters sukaabe, or "young adulthood." At that time he is taught the rules of respect, courtesy, and justice.
A sharo is a Fulani custom that tests manhood. Young men who desire the same woman for a wife will have a "caning match" as a way of eliminating the less persistent suitor. The two must beat each other over the chest with their walking sticks, showing no signs of pain. The Sudan Fulani men usually have up to four wives, who are picked, among other things, by the amount of cattle they own.
The nomadic Fulani love to sing and dance. They feel very strongly about morality, and constantly strive to be generous, honest, and reserved. The Fulani also have a strong concept of beauty, and believe it to be a distinguishing feature between them and other African groups. Fulani infants receive decorative scars on their faces, near their lips, as signs of status and beauty. The children will receive more scarring on their foreheads and noses when they are about five years old. Adults decorate themselves by wearing leg and arm bracelets, as well as many large earrings looped through their ears.
What are their beliefs?
To the Fulani, children are the future. They do not believe in an afterlife, so children are the only means by which they can live on from generation to generation. They believe that through their sons, their names and features will remain. If a Fulani dies with no children, it is as if he dies twice.
What are their needs?
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
This profile may be copied and distributed without obtaining permission
as long as it is not altered, bound, published
or used for profit purposes.