Introduction / History
Some historians believe the Fulani emerged from a prehistoric pastoral group that originated in the upper Nile region around 3500 B.C. As the climate of the Sahara grew increasingly harsh, population pressures drove them to migrate slowly west and south in search of better grazing lands. By the 11th century the Fulani emerged as a distinct people group in the Sénégambia Valley. Over the next 400 years they journeyed south of the Sahara, which had become an inhospitable desert.
Traditionally most Fulani are shepherds or cattle herders, but over time some settled down and, by the 19th century, had established a series of kingdoms between Sénégal and Cameroon. The Fulani have myths about how the nomads and settled rulers emerged.
The settled rulers brought Islam to much of West Africa. By about 1810 the Fulani conquered the Hausa, and held much of northern Nigeria in subjection until defeated by the British between 1900-1906. (Per SIM.org)
Where are they located?
This people group is predominant in Nigeria, but they live in 20 nations of West Africa including Gabon, where they are hardly noticed among the other ethnic groups.
What are their lives like?
For hundreds of years the Fulani people have been nomadic shepherds and cattle herders. They sometimes farm, but they much prefer to tend livestock. The judge one another's status by the number of cattle they own.
What are their beliefs?
The 1500s was a time when the first Fulani became Muslim, but they didn't have a full movement to Islam until the 1800s. As often has happened in Islamic history, this movement came as the result of military activity. The Fulani are actually folk Muslims, meaning that they blend traditional religion with Islam. They seek to control the spirit world through animal sacrifices and by wearing fetishes.
The Fulani have their own unique moral code that combines virtues, which they call "The Fulani pathway." The dominant trait involves having an intimate understanding of Fulani language and culture. They also value patience, self-control, discipline, modesty, respect for others, wisdom, courage, and hard work.
What are their needs?
Like the other Fulanis, the Fulanis in Gabon need to understand that it is essential to embrace the lordship of Jesus Christ. Many believe they have all they need, but like the people of Sardis, they are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked," without an ability to see the Lord.
* Traditionally the Fulani have been resistant to Christianity. Pray for spiritual openness.
* Pray that efforts by mission agencies in countries where the Fulani live will affect the Fulanis in Gabon.
* Pray for a disciple making movement among the Fulani throughout West Africa.
* Pray that the few Fulani believers will shine like the sun before their Muslim neighbors so that others will give Christ the honor He is due.
Text source: Keith Carey