Introduction / History The Bambara are among the most powerful, influential, and populous people groups in Mali. They speak Bamana, which is one of the Manding languages. Bamana is widely spoken in Mali, especially in the realm of business and commerce. It is related to the Bantu language, which includes Swahili and Zulu. They often speak French as well, which is very helpful for those who have moved to France.
During the 1700s, there were two Bambara kingdoms: Segu and Karta. In the 1800s, militant Muslim groups overthrew these kingdoms, leaving only a few anti-Muslim Bambara warlords to resist their occupation. This lasted 40 years, until the arrival of the French colonialists. A very small number of the Bambara had converted to Islam by 1912. After World War II, the number of Muslim converts grew due to their resistance to the French and their exposure to Muslim merchants. Today, the Bambara are mostly Muslim, and those who have migrated to France are no exception.
Where are they located? Like other African migrants, the Bambaras live in cramped apartments in cities like Paris and Marseilles.
What are their lives like? The Bambaras usually come to France illegally; for that reason, they are blamed for causing a higher crime rate and many of the French want them deported. Though the Bambaras in France usually earn small incomes by French standards, they use some of their earnings to help build up the infrastructures in their home villages in Mali.
On a social level, the African Muslim peoples in France tend to come together for social and religious events. The mosques are social as well as religious centers.
What are their beliefs? The Bambara people are Sunni Muslim, but they mix a liberal amount of pre-Islamic beliefs with Islam. There is also the pressure to become more secularized in France, where secular humanism is one step away from being the state religion.
What are their needs? Several mission agencies are currently focusing on the Bambara in Africa, and some progress has been made. Bambara people in France are living among other Africans. They need more workers to be thrust out to reach them for Christ in this secularized environment. Prayer is the key to tearing down the remaining strongholds that are keeping them from knowing the Savior.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will raise prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of France through intercession.
* Pray for the effectiveness of the JESUS Film among the Bambara people both in Africa and France.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will complete the work begun in the hearts of the Bambara believers through adequate discipleship.
* Pray that God will give the Bambara believers boldness to share the love of Jesus with their own people.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the West African Muslims in France.