Kotoko, Lagwan in Chad

Kotoko, Lagwan
Photo Source:  Ken Doerr - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Map Source:  Anonymous
People Name: Kotoko, Lagwan
Country: Chad
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 28,000
World Population: 44,000
Primary Language: Lagwan
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.20 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Chadic
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The country of Chad became independent from France in 1960. Unfortunately, since that date, civil wars, the assassinations and arrests of political leaders, coups and wars with Libya and Sudan have been the norm in Chad. A quarter of Chad’s income is aid from the UN, NPOs, France, China, and the USA. International agencies consider Chad to be a failed state. Less than 40% of the people are able to read and write. In 2003 Chad became an oil exporting nation. Most of the revenue from the oil went to buying weapons and for the salaries of the Chadian military, not for the welfare of the people. Most Lagwan Kotoko people live in the northern part of Cameroon, by the Logone River. A smaller population lives across the border in Chad. The Lagwan Kotoko are traditionally fishermen and farmers, making use of the Logone River to irrigate their fields. Their language area extends into Chad to the east. The town of Logone-Birni is the hub of the language area with a few surrounding villages in Cameroon and Chad. A number of Lagwan speakers also live in the larger cities of Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad. Linguistically, Lagwan is one of the eight Kotoko languages.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Half of their fish is salted, dried and sold. Their main crops are rice, millet, sorghum, maize, manioc and peanuts. Cotton is a cash crop. Chadians make clothing, rugs, blankets and mats for export. Most Lagwan Kotoko live in villages surrounded by a stone wall to keep out animals and robbers. Village elders make important decisions and deal with outsiders. The Kotoko marry within their group. A man may have up to four wives if he can afford them. The life expectancy of the Lagwan Kotoko is 49 years. Parents tend to have a large number of children. Almost half of the population is under 16 years old. 10% of Chadian children die before reaching the age of six. Malaria is one of the primary causes of death among the Kotoko. Two other serious medical problems and causes of death are African sleeping sickness and HIV/AIDs. The Chadian government and NGOs are working to establish health clinics and hospitals where the Kotoko peoples live. Chadians who live in cities have access to schools for their children. Outside of cities, most children do not attend school and work from an early age helping support their families.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Sunni Islam dominates as the primary religion of the Lagwan Kotoko. Their brand of Islam is heavily influenced by folk religion and reverence for their ancestors and saints. Most Kotoko do not pray directly to Allah but ask their ancestors and natural spirits to intercede for them. It is not known if there are any Lagwan Christians in Chad, but one estimate is that perhaps ten percent of those Kotoko living in neighboring Cameroon now profess Jesus as Lord. Sunni Muslims attempt to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

Prayer Points

Pray that Kotoko parents will be able to provide for their children. Pray that Kotoko Christians in Cameroon would be led by the Spirit to share the good news with the Kotoko of Chad. Pray that linguists would be able to translate the Bible into Lagwan Kotoko and that this Bible would find acceptance among the people. Pray that the Lord would send medical and educational workers to the Kotoko of Chad. Pray that a strong movement to Jesus will bring whole Lagwan Kotoko families and communities into a rich experience of God's blessings.

Text Source:   Joshua Project