Introduction / History
The Samogho live in the African country of Mali near the border of Burkina Faso. The climate for this region of Africa is hot and dry. The temperature can reach above 100ºF in the hot season. For those Samogho who live in Burkina Faso, scattered forests provide a place to live. In these forests live hippopotamuses, as well as monkeys, various insects, and birds.
The Samogho would prefer to live near the rivers because the vegetation is thicker and the heat is more bearable. However, the tsetse fly (which carries sleeping sickness) and the simulium fly (which carries river blindness) live near the rivers. These insects make the river areas almost uninhabitable and cause many Samogho to suffer from associated medical problems.
What are their lives like?
For the Samogho, the household is the basic economic unit. The villages are large and usually highly populated. Houses are rectangular with flat roofs, much like those of neighboring tribes. However, the Samogho villages have dome-shaped granaries which rise above the village walls. Each village may have at least 100 of these granaries. Every village has a headman who acts as the authority to family lineages, rather than as the authority to individual households.
Samogho society is patrilineal in structure. This means that the lines of descent are traced through the fathers. Private property is inherited by the eldest son, while household property is passed to the younger brother of the father. Married sons attach their households to the household of their father.
When a girl marries, the girl's family does not require a bride-price, as families in other West African tribes do. Instead, the groom gives premarital gifts to the girl's family. The gifts are usually animals such as chickens or goats. Like many other tribes in West Africa, the men sometimes practice polygamy, the marrying of several wives.
In Burkina Faso, the Mossi tribe lives to the east of the Samogho, and the two tribes are usually at odds with each other. Raids and retaliations occur often. The Mossi tribe is usually the aggressor, while the Samogho continually try to make restitution.
What are their beliefs?
The majority of the Samogho practice various ethnic religions, and a sizable minority are Muslim. Those who are Muslim hold to the five essential duties of Islam: (1) Affirming that "there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet;" (2) praying five times a day while facing Mecca; (3) giving alms generously; (4) fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year; and (5) trying to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetime.
Like many other West African tribes, the Samogho practice the tradition of worshiping dead ancestors. The people also believe that the "supreme god" is too distant to worship directly and that, therefore, the only way to serve him or to worship him is through a spirit. Consequently, a Samogho will worship a statue or another object believed to house a spirit. The spirit, in return, will supposedly give the worship to the supreme god on behalf of the tribesman.
What are their needs?
Efforts have been made to evangelize these people, yet only a small number of Samogho have actually become Christians. They need much prayer and further evangelism so they may learn the reality of God's love.
* Ask the Lord to send forth laborers into Mali who will share the love of Jesus with the Samogho.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to any missions agencies presently focusing on the Samogho.
* Pray that God will give Samogho believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing Samogho church for the glory of His name!