Introduction / History The Mandinka speak Mandinka, one of many Manding languages. The Manding languages are spoken in nine African nations by approximately 11 million people. Although some of these languages have no written script, their oral literature is regarded as some of the best in the world.
Most Manding speakers can trace their roots back to the once great Mali Empire, which rose to power in the 1200s under the rule of the "lion king," Sundiata. After unifying the kingdom, Sundiata began conquering the surrounding peoples.
There are three clear divisions within Mandinka society: free-born, artisans, and slaves. The free-born class is the most diverse. It formerly consisted of only noble rulers. Today, however, it includes merchants, farmers, and others. The artisans include leather craftsmen, blacksmiths, and singers, or griots. Artisans are looked upon with fear and awe because their crafts often involve spiritual rituals.
Where are they located? Starting around 2000, there has been an increase in the number of African migrants to the United States. They are most likely to live in Texas, New York, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts or Virginia.
What are their lives like? The policy of the United States gives preference to immigrants with money, education, and certain needed skills. That goes for West Africans like the Mandika people.
As a general rule when West Africans migrate to the US, they form their own ethnic specific neighborhoods. That way they only deal with people from their own language and culture. When their population is big enough, they form their own ethnic group specific mosque.
What are their beliefs? Islam was first introduced to the Mali Empire by foreign merchants. Gradually, Islam was blended with their traditional beliefs, which involved worshiping the spirits of the land. Mandinka people who live in the US are most likely to either become more secularized or more Islamized.
Most of the Mandinka observe Islamic rituals with little understanding of what they really mean. They view Allah as being the one supreme god. However, they also see him as inaccessible and little concerned with the daily affairs of his creation. Many of the Mandinka consult marabouts (Muslim "holy men") for healing, protective amulets, or insight into the future.
What are their needs? The Madinka people, be they in West Africa or the US, need the opportunity to allow Jesus Christ to transform their lives. They have a much better chance of that happening in the US if believers reach out to them.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will give the Mandinka believers boldness to share the love of Christ with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missionaries currently working among the African diaspora in the US.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among the Mandinka people in the US.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil through worship and intercession.