Introduction / History
While a majority of the Samogho live in the country of Mali, a small group live in the southwestern part of Burkina Faso. The climate in this region of Africa is very hot and dry. Only 30 to 40 inches of rain fall in the area each year, and the temperature can reach above 100º F. during the hot season.
The Samogho live near one of the Burkina Faso's four rivers. There, the vegetation is thicker and the heat is more bearable than in other areas. 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.
The scattered forests also provide a place for the Samogho to live. These forests are also homes to birds, monkeys, various insects and hippopotamuses. The Samogho speak a language called Dzungo, which belongs to the Mandingo branch of the Niger-Congo language family.
What are their lives like?
The Samogho are primarily farmers. Millet is their staple crop, and peanuts, peas, corn, cotton, peppers, and other vegetables are grown as supplementary crops. About three-quarters of the income of the Samogho is based on agriculture. The remainder comes from hunting and gathering. Families also raise goats, sheep, chickens, and bees for their milk, wool, meat, and honey.
Among 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 that 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, or the marrying of several wives.
Burkina Faso is rich in ethnic diversity, and the country's folklore reflects this. During national occasions, each region--including the Samogho region--is represented by its own folklore group.
The Samogho are usually at odds with the Mossi tribe, who are located to the east of the Samogho. Raids and retaliations occur often. The Mossi are usually the aggressors, while the Samogho continually try to make restitution.
What are their beliefs?
The great majority of the Samogho are Muslim; the others practice various ethnic religions. Those who are Muslim hold to the five essential "pillars" or duties of Islam, which include affirming that "there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet"; praying five times a day while facing Mecca; giving alms generously; fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year; and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Samogho believe that the "supreme god" is too distant to worship directly and that the only way to worship him is through a spirit. Consequently, they worship statues or other objects that are believed to "house" the spirits. The spirits, in return, will supposedly give the worship to the supreme god on their behalf.
What are their needs?
Very few Samogho have given their lives to Christ. The strongholds of Islam and paganism over the Samogho can only be loosened by prayer.
* Ask the Lord to send forth laborers into Burkina Faso who will share the love of Jesus with the Samogho.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is presently focusing on the Samogho.
* Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Samogho through dreams and visions.
* Pray that God will give the Samogho believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the spiritual soil of Burkina Faso through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Samogho church for the glory of His name!