Introduction / History The Maninka are a subgroup of a larger people group known as the Mande. Mande tribes inhabit the plains and coastal forests of West Africa. Although the Maninka only began immigrating to the region of present-day Liberia about three hundred years ago, they are already widely scattered throughout the country.
The Maninka are the descendants of the people of the once great Mali Empire. The empire amassed a great fortune taxing the trade of gold and ivory in the region. Before becoming a part of the empire, the Mande were credited with revolutionizing agriculture in the area. They discovered the use of millet, which is still their staple food throughout West Africa.
The Maninka speak a Manding language that is also called Maninka. Manding languages are spoken in many West African nations.
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 government gives preference to immigrants with money, education, and certain needed skills. That goes for West Africans like the Eastern Maninkas.
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? The Maninka have adapted the doctrines of Islam to their own beliefs, resulting in a wide variety of sects. Islam was first introduced in West Africa by traveling Muslim merchants. Since the Maninka were not required by Islamic leaders to abandon their old customs and mystical beliefs, Islam was simply mixed with their traditional religions. Today, Islam is a popular religion that has become deeply rooted into the Eastern Maninka culture.
The Maninka believe that spirits are either good, evil, or mischievous. Maninka Islam approves and even encourages certain magical procedures-particularly those directed towards healing the sick, preventing misfortunes, and ensuring prosperity. Other traditional cults persist in a Muslim guise. For instance, deceased saintly ancestors are looked to as mediators between Allah and man.
The Maninka people who have migrated to the US usually become either more secularized, or they adhere to a purer form of Islam than they did in Africa.
What are their needs? The Eastern Maninka, 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 made a point to reach out to them.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will give the Maninka believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to those reaching out to the African diaspora in the United States.
* Pray for the effectiveness of the JESUS Film which Maninka people in the US can access.
* Ask the Lord for a disciple making movement among the Maninka people in the US for the glory of his name!