Introduction / History
The Makua speak a language that is part of the Niger-Congo language family.
What are their lives like?
Very little is known about the Makua. Consequently, some assumptions have been made in this profile about their lifestyle. Further research is needed to clearly identify these people so they can be reached with the Gospel. The Makua are assumed to be farmers who participate in the typical economic life of the island. As an ethnic group they are organized into small sub-groups, but they have no central authority. Keeping with the tradition brought from the African mainland, the Makua engage in scarring of their bodies and faces in elaborate patterns.
What are their beliefs?
Although some of the Makua have converted to Islam due to Arab influence, most still practice their traditional, pagan religion. In most African ethnic religions there is a belief in a supreme being, although regular worship is not offered to him. In many regions, there is the belief that at one time, this supreme being lived near the earth, but due to human familiarity, he withdrew himself from close involvement. He is still reverenced, however, as the one who sends rewards or punishments.
The Makua also believe in other spiritual beings that take the form of nature spirits or the spirits of dead ancestors. Powerful cults of the dead are the dominant feature of religious life, providing a basis for social life in East Africa. The dead are regarded as heads of their families. Once they have left their human bodies, they are thought to possess additional powers. These spirits receive much more formal worship and attention than the creator god. Every effort is made to assure a quiet, final rest for the dead. Otherwise, they will return as wandering ghosts. Time and resources are spent to make sure that the ancestors remain content and that the spirits are pacified. Certain rituals are conducted in conjunction with prayers and sacrifices to ensure the good growth of crops or to ensure good health.
What are their needs?
With so little known about the Makua, they have easily remained a hidden people. The Makua need to be set free from the fear that comes from their pagan beliefs. Only through the cross of Jesus can they experience such freedom. Intercession is the key to seeing this become a reality in their lives.
* Ask the Lord to call full-time Christian workers to join the few who are already working among the Makua.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant creative ideas of evangelism to missions agencies focusing on the Makua.
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Makua, with many conversions resulting.
* Pray that God will use the Makua believers to share Christ with their own people.
* 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 vigorous Makua church for the glory of His name!