People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Berber, Southern Shilha in Algeria

Berber, Southern Shilha

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Berber, Southern Shilha in Algeria map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
6,700 Tachelhit Islam 0.09 % 0.00 %   

Berber, Southern Shilha in Algeria

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
While a majority of the Southern Shilha live in southwestern Morocco, another large group live in neighboring Algeria. In this region, the mountain barrier is the dominant feature. Although it is not very long, this mountain chain is the highest and the most imposing stretch of the vast Atlas range. Between November and May the region is blanketed in snow. On the southern slopes, there is almost no plant life.

The Southern Shilha are grouped around this area in villages of all sizes, using the scarce soil and water resources with great care. They build small dams and cultivation terraces on which they grow cereals and other crops. They also raise livestock to supplement their income and resources. Villagers sell their surplus farm and livestock products at the weekly markets in order to buy such vital commodities as sugar and tea. Marrakech, the former capital of Morocco, is a key commercial center for the Southern Shilha.

What are their lives like?
City men and women often wear western clothing, sometimes accompanied by a long hooded robe called a jellaba. Men wear turbans or skull caps called tagiyas. Rural women are colorfully but modestly dressed, wearing several layers of clothing. They rarely wear veils, but the married women always wear head scarves. Some of the women also have facial tattoos.

In the villages, their way of life has remained unchanged over the centuries. Most Shilha villages contain between 50 and 500 people. They typically live in two-story, mud brick homes with flat roofs. In the more rugged mountain areas they live in sturdy goat skin tents.

Outside the villages, the steep slopes have been terraced to preserve the soil. On plots that are not regularly irrigated, they plant wheat, barley, and sometimes rye in either autumn or spring. Other plots, situated mainly in the valleys, are irrigated regularly by simple dams. They are able to get two crops per year from these plots. On the lower slopes, herds of sheep and goats graze; but in summer the whole family may accompany the flocks to the high mountain pastures.

The Southern Shilha are a poor but proud people. They are tough and hardworking, scratching out a meager existence in a part of the world that is physically antagonistic to an agricultural society. They don't really value education because they believe that hard work is of higher value. Only a small number complete more than a few years of public schooling. In rural areas; however, many male children attend Islamic schools where they are taught the Koran.

Family ties are very important to the Southern Shilha. A typical family consists of close relatives living under the authority of the male head of the home. A new bride, often as young as 14, will move into the home of the husband's family after marriage.

Since the late nineteenth century, many Shilha have left their poor, overpopulated valleys, in hopes of finding new resources in the northern cities of Morocco. Some have become profitable grocers, shopkeepers, or wholesalers. Others have entered the fabric trade. Today, some of the most important businessmen in Casablanca are Shilha.

The Shilha speak Tashilhait, which is divided into three dialects.

What are their beliefs?
Although the Shilha are virtually all Muslim, their religion is mingled with spiritism and mysticism. Interestingly, this blended religion has created in them a curiosity and yearning to know more about their god. They worship a god whom they believe wants to be present in their daily lives. Such a spiritual climate is ripe for a presentation of the Gospel! Unfortunately, there is very little Christian witness among them.

What are their needs?
Today the Southern Shilha are showing an interest in Christianity as never before. There are some known believers in Algeria. More laborers are needed.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Algeria and share Christ with the Southern Shilha.
Ask God to call out prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
Ask God to encourage and protect the few Southern Shilha Christians.
Pray that God will complete the work begun in the hearts of these believers through adequate discipleship.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to stir a hunger in the people to have a personal relationship with the one true God.
Ask the Lord to raise up a strong and growing Church among the Southern Shilha of Algeria for the glory of His name!

View Berber, Southern Shilha in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-12-13
  Submit Update:
Country: Algeria
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, North and Middle East
Persecution Rank:19 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Béchar province, south near Morocco border: Tabelbala area.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Berber, Southern Shilha
People Name General: Berber, Southern Shilha
Alternate People Names:
ShluhSous Berber
Sousi BerberTashelhit
ROP3 Code: 108945
Joshua Project People ID: 14911
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 6,700
Population all Countries: 3,624,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
People Cluster: Berber-Shilha
People Name General: Berber, Southern Shilha
Ethnic Code: CMT32g
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Tachelhit (6,700 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): shi    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Sub-division:Sunni
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.09 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam99.91 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1906-1925
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tachelhit
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoResources in Tachelhit language
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralWalk with the Prophets and meet the Mess ...
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Text / Printed MatterBible: Tachelhit
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Berber, Southern Shilha in Algeria

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Berber-Shilha     Africa, North and Middle East    
      Berber, Southern Shilha Algeria    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Berber, Southern Shilha in Algeria          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Tachelhit  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: