Introduction / History The Central Koma, also known as the Komo, live in the Blue Nile Province of Sudan. They also live in South Sudan and in Ethiopia. They are a Nilotic people. The term Nilotic once referred to people living along the banks of the Upper Nile Valley River. Today, the term is used in a broader sense, and includes people who live in surrounding areas and have the same physical, linguistic, and cultural characteristics as those living in the Upper Nile Valley.
Intermarriage and close contact with some non-Nilotes have influenced the Central Koma culturally and linguistically. Thus, while most Nilotes speak a language from the Sudanic linguistic stock, the Central Koma speak a language that belongs to the Koman language group.
The Central Koma, like other Nilotes, are tall, with long legs and thin physiques. They have little body hair, broad noses, thin lips, and long heads. As a whole, most Nilotes look uniquely different from surrounding peoples.
What are their lives like? The Central Koma (hereafter called Komo) are shepherds and farmers. They raise cattle, sheep, and goats. Their crops include sorghum, maize, sesame, okra, peppers, cotton, and tobacco. They engage in some hunting and fishing, and also do some trading with the Nuer and other nearby peoples. The men hunt, fish, and do most of the herding and milking, while the women help the men with farm labor. The women also collect honey from the hives in the bush.
The Komo live in compact villages, in round huts with thatched roofs. Each wife has her own hut where she and her children remain until the children are old enough to begin their own families.
Komo marriages take place by the exchange of sisters from one village to the next. Marriage between close relatives is forbidden. The groom is not required to perform a bride-service (working for the bride's family before a marriage can take place), and a bride-price is uncommon. Polygamy (having more than one spouse) exists, but only a few of the wealthiest Komo have more than one wife.
Each village (or small group of villages) has a headman who inherits his office and exercises limited authority. He is considered "the Father of the Land." Although families clear and cultivate the fields, individual families do not own the land. Instead, the land collectively belongs to the entire village, under the leadership of the headman. The headman also keeps in his possession the symbolic insignia of the Komo, such as strings of beads, spears, and village drums.
"Rain-makers" (men who conduct rituals in order to bring much needed rain) also inherit their positions and may sometimes serve as village headmen. In addition, each village has a religious expert who specializes in magic and is subject to inspiration from spirits.
There are a few schools in the Blue Nile Province, and some Komo have the opportunity to receive an education. In certain schools, English is taught at the higher levels, while Arabic is taught at the lower levels. There are few medical facilities in the area. The people often look to their chiefs for the healing of simple illnesses.
What are their beliefs? Most Komo follow their traditional ethnic religion. This religion teaches the worship of a supreme god who is considered the creator of all things, and the worship of the spirits of dead ancestors. Divination (the use of supernatural powers), magic, and rain-making are also a part of the traditional religion.
What are their needs? The Komo have few Christian resources available to them. A large majority of the Komo have not had an opportunity to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel of Christ. Christian broadcasts need to fill the airwaves of the Blue Nile Province. Prayer is desperately needed to make all of this possible and to open the hearts of the Komo so they will receive the Gospel when it is presented to them.
Prayer Points Ask the Lord to bless the efforts of missions agencies currently working among the Komo.
Pray that the Lord will send Christian doctors and other laborers who will share the Gospel with the people.
Pray that God will give Komo believers boldness to share the love of Jesus 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 strong Komo church for the glory of His name! * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.