Tigre, Xasa in Sudan

Tigre, Xasa
Photo Source:  Link Up Africa 
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Tigre, Xasa
Country: Sudan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 21,000
World Population: 810,000
Primary Language: Tigre
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.10 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ethio-Semitic
Affinity Bloc: Horn of Africa Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Xasa Tigre are traditionally nomadic shepherds who live in Eritrea and northeastern Sudan. Historically, most of the Tigre have been scattered between Eritrea's northern highlands and western lowlands. They have gradually shifted into Sudan in search of water and grazing lands. The area is well-suited for their nomadic cattle production lifestyle.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Since their language, Tigre, has no script of its own, most literate Tigre write in Arabic. Today, many of the Xasa Tigre continue to live as nomads, but most are semi-nomadic; others have become settled farmers. The nomadic Xasa Tigre raise cattle, goats, sheep, and camels. They sell their animals in the markets and they use their earnings to buy essential items. The nomads do not live in villages, but roam about the countryside with their herds. They live in round huts, usually covered with mats made of woven goat or camel hair.
The semi-nomadic Tigre usually spend half the year in the northern highlands and the other half in the western lowlands. Their villages usually have only two or three huts. Their huts are also round and are covered with mats made of woven goat hair. They also tend livestock, usually cattle and goats.
The settled Tigre farmers raise corn, sorghum, wheat, barley, legumes, and linseed. They live in villages and their homes are usually round with cone-shaped roofs made of branches and leaves. The walls are typically made of palm mats. Most of the farmers raise goats and occasionally cattle. Oxen, mules, and donkeys are used as pack animals.
The Xasa Tigre's traditional animal skin clothing has now been almost entirely replaced with commercial clothes. Their diet consists of dairy products, some slaughtered stock, grain, and fruit. The men tend the livestock while the women carry water from local water holes, build the huts, and care for the children. Tigre women like to wear jewelry, especially silver bracelets and strings of pearls. They also prefer to make their clothing from colored cloth, which is available at trading markets. Tobacco, coffee, and beer are frequent indulgences.
Tigre society is patrilineal, which means that the line of descent is traced through the males. Marriages are arranged by the parents; however, wedding customs have varied somewhat since the Tigre converted to Islam. Some of the people now adhere to Islamic customs, while others continue to follow the traditional customs. Members of a tribe usually follow the same set of rites and customs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Influenced by Muslim Arab missionaries, most of the Tigre converted to Islam during the 1800s. Although the Xasa Tigre profess to be Sunni Muslims, most of them practice folk Islam, which is a blend of Islam and ethnic beliefs. Their traditional beliefs include animal sacrifices and rainmaking rituals. They offer sacrifices of livestock or corn whenever they think their sins are numerous. They believe that the sacrifice becomes the scapegoat for their sins.
The Xasa Tigre also believe in an evil spirit named Zar, who possesses people and causes accidents, illnesses, and sometimes death. The people depend on shamans (priests) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the spirit, and control events. The shamans also exorcise demons and perform services by entering into a trance.

What Are Their Needs?

There are only a few known Xasa Tigre believers in Sudan at this time. Prayer is the key to reaching these precious group with the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray for abundant rain and a huge harvest for the Xasa Tigre people as a testimony of the Lord's love and kindness.
Pray that the Lord will thrust out workers to the Xasa Tigre people in Sudan and Chad.
Pray for Xasa Tigre aju leaders to have a thirst for the living water that only Jesus can provide.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Xasa Tigre that cannot be stopped by any effort.

Text Source:   Joshua Project