People-in-Country Profile

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

Mijikenda, Digo in Kenya

Mijikenda, Digo

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Mijikenda, Digo in Kenya map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
409,000 Chidigo Islam 0.10 % 0.05 %   

Mijikenda, Digo in Kenya

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Digo are an East African tribe, concentrated on the southern coastal strip of Kenya between Mombasa and the border of Tanzania. It is rather surprising to find that in a country that is largely Christian, the Digo are nearly all Muslim.

The Digo are a Bantu tribe and are actually grouped together with eight other tribes. Together these tribes make up the Mijikenda, or "nine towns." Tradition tells us that the nine Mijikenda tribes originated farther north, but were driven south as a result of war.

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Digo experienced a time of great famine. It became a common practice for them to give either themselves or their children as kore, or "blood money," to serve as temporary collateral for a loan of food. Sadly, there were many times when the debt could not be redeemed, thus leaving them to live as slaves. Many of the Digo who were brought to Mombasa as slaves later obtained their freedom by converting to Islam.

What are their lives like?
For many years the Digo have been involved in trade with Muslim Arabs. As a result, they have enjoyed a higher standard of living than most of their neighboring tribes. In addition to trading, farming and fishing are two other sources of income for the Digo. Their principal crop is "manioc," a small shrub with thick roots that are eaten like potatoes. They also grow sesame, corn, rice, and beans. "Palm wine" is a popular drink produced from the palm tree.

The Digo tribe formerly lived in large, fortified villages but today their villages only consist of about 40 huts each. The shape of each hut clearly indicates to the villagers who live inside. The huts of elders are round, while those of other people are rectangular.

When a young Digo man marries, he must pay the normal bride-price of four heads of cattle, two goats or sheep, and palm wine. He is then incorporated into the bride's family. Eventually, as he demonstrates leadership qualities, he will be accepted into the body of tribal elders.

What are their beliefs?
Islam is more widely accepted among the Digo than among any of the other Mijikenda tribes. Nevertheless, ties with traditional practices (such as animism and ancestor worship) still have more influence on the Digo community than does Islam. (Animism is the belief that non-human objects have spirits. Ancestor worship is the practice of praying to deceased ancestors for help and guidance.) One example of spiritism is their use of blood sacrifices. Such sacrifices are very significant to the Digo, especially in the exorcism of evil spirits. Witchdoctors are also consulted regularly.

Most of the Digo people over forty years of age have no real understanding of the Koran. Only a few of them have studied Islam in any depth, and most of them have only a superficial knowledge of its principles and doctrines. However, its presence among the Digo over the past eighty years has not gone entirely unnoticed. Its existence has altered both religious and political structures. For example, the people have adopted new attire and diets from their Muslim Arab neighbors. Although they know no religious significance for wearing the black veil, Digo women wear it to show respect for their husbands. This nominal identification with the Muslim religion is referred to as "folk Islam."

What are their needs?
Even though the nation of Kenya is predominantly Christian, the Digo have never been successfully reached with the Gospel.

The entire New Testament has successfully been translated into Chidigo, the language of the Digo people, around 2005, and now there is a need for literacy training to put the gospel in their heart language to use. The Old Testament translation into Chidigo has also begun.

Since the Digo are economically self-sufficient, they have no real need to reach out to the nearby Christian-sponsored relief agencies. Materialism is becoming increasingly widespread among them.

Also, the religious practices of the Digo are deeply rooted in spiritism and folk Islam. This makes reaching them a very difficult task.

Prayer Points
* The raising up of Digo pastors who take their words and actions from the Word of God in their own language is necessary for true church growth amongst the Digo.
* Pray that God will cause the Digo people to become dissatisfied with their traditional religions and begin searching for the Truth.
* Pray that God will empower the Kenyan church with the ability and the strategy to reach the Digo tribe with the Gospel.
* Ask God to soften the hearts and open the ears of the Digo people to the Gospel as it is presented to them.
* Pray that Christian broadcasts will be made available in the area of Kenya where the Digo tribe is located.
* Pray for the Christians working nearby the Digo settlements. Ask God to give them open doors of ministry to the Digo tribe.
* Pray that a strong Christian work will be raised up within the Digo tribe.

View Mijikenda, Digo in all countries.

Prayer Links  
PrayerGuard.net
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-12-20
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-01-28
  Submit Update:
Country: Kenya
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, East and Southern
Persecution Rank:44 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Kwale county: south of Mombasa.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
   
 
Maps
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: Mijikenda, Digo
People Name General: Mijikenda, Digo
ROP3 Code: 102607
Joshua Project People ID: 11557
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 409,000
Population all Countries: 654,000
Least-Reached: Yes
   
 
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster: Bantu, East-Coastal
People Name General: Mijikenda, Digo
Ethnic Code: NAB57j
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
   
 
Language
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Chidigo (409,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): dig    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
   
 
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.10 %(Evangelical: 0.05 %)
Ethnic Religions20.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam79.90 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican30.00 %
Independent35.00 %
Protestant25.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic10.00 %
 
(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: 1982-2000
New Testament:
2007-2008Audio
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 (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Chidigo
 
 
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit LinkingGlobalVoices.org 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
 
 

Mijikenda, Digo in Kenya

Peoples
               
Geographic
Global                 Global
           
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
           
   
People Cluster
       
Region
   
    Bantu, East-Coastal     Africa, East and Southern    
     
People-Group-Across-Countries
   
Country
   
      Mijikenda, Digo Kenya    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Mijikenda, Digo in Kenya          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Chidigo  
    Global    
Language
 
    All Religions                              
   
Religion
                             

Direct link:  http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?rog3=KE&peo3=11557