Introduction / History Hundreds of years ago, the Wolof people conquered many tribes in the northwestern Senegal area. By the end of the 1300s, the Wolof had grown into a large empire of separate, self-governing states. By the 1500s the empire had split into four major Wolof kingdoms.
The French expanded into Senegal during the 1800s, making it a colony of French West Africa. In 1946, the Wolof of Senegal were awarded French citizenship, and today, many Wolof have their homes in France, though a smaller number have migrated to Italy. European influences are still a part of Wolof culture, which are seen in village and social customs.
Where are they located? The Wolof are a large ethnic group. Most of the Wolof people are located in the West African countries of Senegal and Gambia. In recent years, however, the expansion of peanut cultivation and an acceleration towards urbanization has motivated many of the Wolof to spread out into Cote d'Ivoire and Mali. There they hoped to make use of the land and find better jobs in the cities. Some have made their way to Europe. Those who live in Italy are most likely to be found in Rome.
What are their lives like? The Wolof people are probably not prepared to enter the workforce in the high-tech urban environment of Italy.
What are their beliefs? The Wolof people frequently follow Sufi traditions. The Sufis are a mystical sector of Islam that incorporates much more demonstrations of emotions than other Islamic traditions. They are sometimes admired and other times derided by other Muslims. In Africa there are many Sufi brotherhoods for the Wolof people. To some degree, these Sufi brotherhoods have followed them to Europe.
What are their needs? The Wolof have been closed to Christianity for many years. Today, most of the Wolof groups have a number of Christian resources available to them, and mission agencies have focused on each of the groups. Sadly, however, very few of the Wolof people follow the Lord, be they in Africa or Europe. There is a great need for laborers who are sensitive to the Muslim cultures to work among the Wolof and to share Christ's love.
Prayer Points * Pray for the translation of the Old Testament into Wolof.
* Pray for effectiveness of the JESUS Film, radio, and other evangelistic tools among the Wolof people.
* Pray that the Wolof people living in Italy would come to know God and return as spiritual leaders for their people.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among Wolof communities in Italy.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Wolof.
* Pray that their traditional Muslim culture will soften, creating open doors for the gospel to be preached among them.