Ngile, Masakin in Sudan

Ngile, Masakin
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Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Ngile, Masakin
Country: Sudan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 107,000
World Population: 107,000
Primary Language: Ngile
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.70 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Nuba Mountains
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Nuba people claim to be the original inhabitants of the Nuba Mountains which are located in Sudan’s South Kordofan province. Since other groups occupy the area, such as the Arabic-speaking Baggara and Jellaba, the non-Arab Nuba make up less than two-thirds of the Nuba Mountains population. Although the people are referred to as "Nuba," there is no single Nuba group. Instead, the term is used as a regional grouping for a people who share the same environment and stand out as distinct from the surrounding tribes. One of these groups is the Ngile tribe. There are nearly 100 different dialects in the Nuba Mountains. With 100 dialects and languages, most of them speak Arabic as their trade language, which has enabled them to communicate.

What Are Their Lives Like?

For many centuries, the Nuba Mountains served as a refuge for peoples fleeing oppressive governments and slave traders. Perhaps this best explains why there is such a variety of Nuba groups and languages. Because the Nuba tribes originally fled to the mountains for refuge, they generally dislike and distrust outsiders. While most of the tribes still live in the mountains, some individuals have migrated to the surrounding hills and plains since the late 1800s. Others have moved to towns and cities, either permanently or seasonally, in search of jobs or schools for their children. This gradual migration is the result of the British establishing law and order around the tribes, making them feel safe from outside influences. The introduction of cotton as a cash crop has also encouraged some individuals to move southward.


The Nuba peoples like the Ngile are industrious farmers, and their livelihood is based primarily on agriculture. Sorghum, the staple crop, can either be sold or made into beer. They also grow millet, sesame, peanuts, and tobacco for personal consumption. The Ngile also gather forest products and sell them as some of the region’s exports. The women have small vegetable gardens in which they raise vegetables such as onions, okra, beans, and maize. The Ngile also keep cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens.


Millet porridge is a main part of the Ngile diet. They serve it with a sauce made from meat, okra, or kidney beans. Arab groups introduced to the region dura, a thin, coarse bread. Today, it has become one of their staple foods. Dura can also be used to make a mild beer. The Ngile who have migrated into cities now enjoy bread from bakeries, fresh meat, and fresh produce, leaving their desire for millet porridge behind.


A typical Ngile home is made of either stone or plaster-covered thatch. Each home has a kitchen, sleeping quarters and a granary. Some houses also have special rooms where the young unmarried girls of the neighborhood sleep.


Clans or extended family sections organize village communities. Clan elders hold the authority in the villages. Each community usually has a large, stone mosque. Most villages also have Islamic schools where boys and girls study the Koran.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of the Nuba groups are completely Muslim and allow Islamic law to affect their daily lives. Although one group differs from the next in language, ethnicity, and cultural heritage, the laws of Islam bind them in education, dress, diet, family life, and spiritual life. Under Islamic tradition, Ngile children are educated in religious schools. They will not eat pork, and they must slaughter meat according to halal traditions. They circumcise their boys, and husbands can have four wives. Ngiles utter common Muslim prayers at home and at the mosques.


On a practical level, the Muslim Nuba peoples, like the Ngile depend on shamans (priests or priestesses) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the gods, and control events. The shamans often go into trances and speak to the spirits whom they believe control their lives. People believe that the local priests can be incarnations of spirits. These priests are in charge of such things as fertility ceremonies, and they take part in sacrifices to ward off illness or famine.

What Are Their Needs?

Some Nuba groups, like the Ngile, have no Christian resources in their languages. They need much intercession so their hearts will be ready when they hear of the Savior who offers life to the full.

Prayer Points

Pray for Ngile believers to have hearts that are ready and willing to take the name of Jesus to Muslims throughout their region.


Pray for the Ngile people to have hearts that are open to the abundant blessings of Jesus Christ.


Pray for their families to prosper financially and spiritually as they experience a relationship with Jesus Christ.


Pray for a movement to Christ among the Ngile that will spread joy, peace and salvation to other peoples in East Africa.

Text Source:   Joshua Project