Introduction / History The Banda inhabit a small region in western Ghana. Ghana's European name was "Gold Coast", named for the gold in the area. In 1957, Gold Coast gained her independence and took back her former name, Ghana. Ghana's coastal and far north regions are savannas (flat grasslands); in between the grasslands is a forest zone. The low annual rainfall there makes it the least developed region of the country. A smaller population lives in Cote d'Ivoire.
Many species of animals live in the savanna region. These include monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, lions, giant snails, and a variety of birds. There are also numerous types of insects. Among the most dangerous are mosquitoes, tsetse flies, and blackflies. These insects carry diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, and river blindness. Unfortunately, the territory that is occupied by the Banda has the most exposure to these insects.
Where are they located? The Ligbi Banda live in Numasa, northwest Brong-Ahafo; east of Sampa and northwest of Wenchi. In Cote d'Ivoire they live in the Eastern Department, Bineto village; Bouna community; Slil town near Boundoukou; Ourodougou near Malinke [loi] territory.
What are their lives like? The main source of income for the Banda comes from farming. Sorghum and manioc (a shrubby plant with a thick, starchy root) are their main crops. Potatoes, peanuts, bananas, corn, peas, rice, and melons are also grown. The Banda do not raise many cattle because of the tsetse flies. However, they do keep goats, dogs, chickens, and some sheep. Hunting is also important because the meat provides most of the protein in their diet. Very little fishing is done because of the dangerous insects swarming around the rivers.
The men generally clear the land, while the women do most of the planting and harvesting. The older men hunt and the younger men perform the required "bride service." This entails tending to their in-laws' farms.
Polygyny (having multiple wives) is common among the Banda. Wives live in their own private huts, to which the husband rotates. There is a "chief wife" who has authority over all the others.
A Banda village is arranged in a circle around a central court. Each neighborhood has from three to ten huts. A typical house is round with low walls of beaten dirt and a thatch roof that is supported by a central post. Each community has a headman, or a clan chief who lives in the central court of the village. He handles the affairs of the people by acting as judge.
What are their beliefs? The Banda tribe is largely Sunni Muslim. Islam is based on the teachings of Mohammed, the prophet. There are five essential duties in Islam: affirming that Allah is the only god and that Mohammed is his prophet; praying; giving alms; fasting; and making at least one pilgrimage to Mecca, if possible.
The non-Muslim Banda practice ethnic religions such as ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors for help or guidance). When a person dies, the family sets up a special shrine in his honor. Every important step in a man's life is recorded at his shrine. The ancestral spirits are worshipped at the shrines, usually by the men. The spirits are believed to be "guardian spirits" over the family's children.
The Banda also believe in "bush spirits" or "fairies." The fairies are believed to be small creatures with large heads covered with rough hair. They are rarely seen and act as humans would act. The fairies are said to take revenge on people who offend them, by either making them insane or killing them.
The Banda wear magical charms and make medicines to protect themselves from curses or diseases. When a woman has twins, this is viewed as a punishment or a curse on the family. Parents of twins must be purified. The Banda believe that anyone who defies the magical charm or purifying medicine will be cursed.
What are their needs? There are only a handful of known Banda Christians in northern Ghana. Evangelistic resources in the Banda language, Ligbi, are very limited. Additional tools and laborers are needed.
Prayer Points * Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go and share Christ with the Banda.
* Ask God to give Banda Christians opportunities to share the Gospel with their own people.
* Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies working among the Banda.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Banda towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of governmental leaders to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Banda. * Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.