The Fulakunda of Senegal
The Fulakunda are a sub-group of the Fulani (or Fula), a vast cluster of peoples living throughout central and western Africa. Most of the Fulani are nomadic herdsmen, and almost all are considered Muslim. They are separated and grouped according to language, location, and occupation.
As the Fulani migrated southward to and through Guinea Bissau during the fifteenth century, some of them mixed with the Mandingo in the area. Those who intermarried with the Mandingo were considered "black," or preto. These Fulani became known as Fula Preto, or Fulakunda. They speak Fulakunda (or Pulaar), which belongs to the West Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family. The area they inhabit lies between Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and Gambia. They live among the Mandingo and Tukulor peoples in the forests of southern Senegal.
What are their lives like?
Although the Fulakunda have mixed cultures and have intermarried with the "black" groups in the area, they still practice many of the customs and traditions of the "pure" Fulani. Their lives center around their herds of cattle or sheep. In fact, the more cattle one owns, the wealthier he is considered to be. In addition, some Fulakunda are hired as herdsmen for various kingdoms in the Sudan, just as their fathers were before them.
Mixing agriculture with herding, the Fulakunda consume grains and milk as their staple foods. Meat is seldom eaten. In fact, only during important formal events, such as the naming ceremony or at the birth of a first son, is beef consumed. Even then, it is usually eaten only for ceremonial purposes. Donkeys, chickens, and dogs are kept on the farms.
The wuro (village) is the center of Fulakunda society. It is there that the women do most of their work. They prepare the evening meal, which takes about four or five hours. They also gather grass and twigs for the construction of their huts. Milking the cattle and preparing butter are other important chores. The men herd the cattle and dig wells. Sons over the age of 15 assume their fathers' work. The young men are directed and supervised by their fathers.
At 15, a boy builds and begins living in his own hut, which he will eventually share with his first wife. Subsequent wives will be given huts of their own. A girl is often "lent" to a man, to see if she will work well with the first wife. The prospective husband will visit and give gifts to the girl's family until the marriage is official.
For the most part, the Fulakunda, like other Fulani herdsmen, are illiterate. Although they may lack a scholarly grasp on book knowledge, they are considered skilled social analysts. Some elders have traveled in many countries and know of the language, people, and culture of each.
What are their beliefs?
The Fulakunda of Senegal are a Muslim people, following the teachings of Mohammed. They adhere strongly to virtues and good morals, such as justice, honesty, generosity, and patience.
The Fulakunda think of the village as a place of rules and obligations—a place for socially acceptable behavior. The bush, on the other hand, is a place of freedom, where they can act according to their own needs.
The Fulakunda hate to feel alone. However, they tend to hide their feelings, and the need for love and companionship is not expressed in public. Only through songs is this need freely acknowledged.
What are their needs?
Three missions agencies are currently working among the Fulakunda of Senegal. Although some Christian resources are available to them, only a small number of Fulakunda have become Christians. Though portions of the Bible have been translated into their language, very few Fulakunda can read. Perhaps Christian teachers will have the greatest opportunity to work among these Muslims.
The Fulakunda are very devoted to Islam, probably because they were responsible in helping spread it throughout much of Africa. Fervent prayer is needed to break the stronghold Islam has on their lives.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send additional Christian laborers to work among the Fulakunda of Senegal.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are targeting the Fulakunda.
- Pray that God will anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio in their area.
- Ask the Lord to send forth Christian teachers to live among the Fulakunda and teach them how to read the Word of God.
- Pray that God will give the few Fulakunda believers boldness to share Christ with their families and friends.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Fulakunda bound.
- Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for these precious people.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Fulakunda church for the glory of His name!
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Fulakunda
- Country: Senegal
- Their language: fulakunda
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 103
- Scriptures in their own language: Portions
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 3
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 276,600 (27%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 753,000 (73%)
- Country: Senegal
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 17
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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