Introduction / History The Maguzawas are a Hausa tribe located in northern Nigeria, primarily in Kano and Katsina states and particularly in the rural areas surrounding the capital cities which bear the same names as those states.
What are their lives like? They are predominantly farmers. When not engaged in farming during the dry season, they subsidize their income in other ways. The women often trade for necessary items. There exists a strong distinction between them and their Hausa counterparts in the city who are better educated and who strongly follow Islam.
The community is ruled by "sarki", or leaders who are over several important areas of their lives: the head of farming, the head of the pagans and the head of the bush.
The Maguzawa are often mistreated by those who are better educated and are heavily influenced by Muslim outsiders and the government. Though they do not accept strangers readily, they are a peaceable people.
Men marry multiple wives and girls may marry at a young age, as young as 13. Many of these marriages are forced and lead to a very high divorce rate. There is also pressure from Muslims for the women to marry Muslim men.
An alcoholic beverage known as "burukutu" is consumed heavily and used in all their ceremonies. The rate of alcoholism is very high. In fact, the "head of the pagans" is usually the best burukutu drinker of the community.
What are their beliefs? Though heavily influenced by Islam, they hold to their pre-Islamic practices. They believe in thousands of spirits or "iskoki." There are about 3,000 in their pantheon of spirits. They pour wine and animal blood over stone altars, invoking these spirits and the spirits of their ancestors to protect them and to prosper their harvests.
What are their needs? The missionaries working among the Maguzawa struggle to have a place in which to worship, especially since the Muslim authorities often prevent or destroy their meeting places.
Prayer Points * Pray for a place for the Maguzawa believers to worship in.
* Pray for their medical needs and for the missionaries to have the supplies needed to treat them.
* Pray for discipleship that helps the believers make a break with those traditions that are empty following of useless spirits.
Jerome H. Barkow. "Muslims and Maguzawa in North Central State, Nigeria: An Ethnographic Comparison." Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines VII, no. 1 (1973): 59