Introduction / History The Kajakse are located in the Ouddai region of south central Chad. Many of the groups of this region share various similarities in culture and lifestyle, and it is difficult to tell them apart. Despite these likenesses, they are aware of clan loyalties and are generally hesitant to intermarry. Although they attempt to keep separate identities, the groups maintain peaceful relationships with one another. In the past, they have even rallied together to protect their independence from outside forces. The Kajakse and other neighboring groups were the object of repeated slave raids by the Fulbe and especially the Arabs. As a result, much bitterness still remains between them.
The Kajakse speak a Chadic language, also called Kajakse, which is from the Afro-Asiatic language family. Very little specific detail is known about the Kajakse; thus, some assumptions have been made concerning their lifestyle and culture, based on that of neighboring groups.
What are their lives like? The Kajakse are generally either hunters and gatherers or small-scale farmers who attempt to cultivate the rocky ground of the region. The main crop grown is millet; however, some cotton, okra, beans, and corn may also be grown, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Their diet consists primarily of a heavy millet paste, eaten with a sauce made from wild leaves, meat, or dried fish.
Most of the Kajakse receive some income from selling surplus millet and from transporting goods for others. They trade with the nearby Arabs on a regular basis in order to purchase items they cannot otherwise obtain. In these trades, millet is given in exchange for milk, meat, and items made by Arab blacksmiths.
The Kajakse make only a few handicrafts, most of which are for their own use and not for sale to others. Some crafts include woven palm leaf mats, clay jars for transporting and storing water and grain, and cotton thread and fabric.
Most Kajakse women wear colorful print fabrics, either wrapped around their bodies or tailored into dresses. Head coverings are worn when they are outside their compounds. The men wear Western-style pants with shirts, or long robes with or without pants.
Most of the Kajakse live in villages composed of several clans. Each clan group lives within its own neighborhood of the village. A number of huts housing extended family members forms a compound. Each village has a chief or headman who is primarily in charge of settling disputes within the village. Each village also has a "chief of the land," who holds the religious power of the village. Houses in the villages take the form of round mud-brick huts with cone-shaped, thatched roofs. In town, however, dwellings are rectangular in shape, are made of mud-brick, and have flat roofs.
Many Kajakse villages have primary schools, but the teachers are generally inadequate. Many children who attempt school soon drop out. In addition to schools, there are other evidences of some modernization among the Kajakse. Kerosene lanterns and flashlights are used in each compound, but sparingly. Short-wave radios and digital watches are not uncommon. Some Kajakse even own bicycles or mopeds. However, other modern features, such as electricity, telephones, clean water, and adequate health care, are not present in the area.
What are their beliefs? The Kajakse are predominantly Muslim, but pre-Islamic beliefs are still practiced by some. Both the Islamic calendar and various life-rite ceremonies are followed to some degree. There are only a few known Christians among the Kajakse.
What are their needs? Not only do the Kajakse need better education and health care, they need to know Jesus as their Savior. With very few Christian resources available to them and no missions agencies currently focusing on them, much evangelistic work and prayer are still needed to bring the Gospel to these people.
Prayer Points Ask the Lord to call Christian teachers and medical workers to minister the love of Jesus to the Kajakse.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Kajakse so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will use the Kajakse believers to share Christ with their families and friends.
Ask God to raise up a mighty army of prayer warriors who will faithfully intercede for the Kajakse.
Ask the Lord to bring forth a vigorous Kajakse church for the glory of His name! * Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people. * Pray for Gospel messages to become available in audio format for this people group.