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The Gonja of North Ghana

23 June 2017 / Day 28

Pray for The Gonja

The Gonja (population: 310,000 people) live in the Northern Region of Ghana. It is said that Islam has been around since the early establishment of the Gonja kingdom in AD 1600 but only became relevant in the last decades. Today, ‘to be a Gonja means to be a Muslim.’ However, the majority of Gonja still practice some form of worship of local gods and the veneration of ancestors.

Most families live in a compound which consists of 3 to 10 rooms. A compound is occupied by a man, his wives and any unmarried children. When a son gets married, he must move out of his father’s compound and build his own home. But they will continue to consult with each other on any important family issues. Family influence, therefore, becomes an important factor in decisions about faith.

Image by Carsten ten Brink @ Flickr / Creative Commons

Those who decide to follow Christ face persecution of various forms and levels. For example, Hanifa and Musa are cousins and have been best friends since childhood. They used to spend all their time together. When Hanifa became a Christian, Musa’s father and brothers urged Musa not to eat with Hanifa again as he is now considered unclean.

Another believer, Seid, was attacked at gun point by his own father in his room because he had become a Christian. He saved his life by escaping through the window.

See also  Day 15 - Pray for Guinea, West Africa

Ashata is currently under pressure from her family to divorce her husband, with whom she has four children, because he became a follower of Jesus after they got married.

How to Pray

  • For Gonjas believers to understand how to share their faith within their families without causing separation.
  • The Gonja have one of the lowest literacy rates in Ghana. Pray for programs that are working to improve opportunities for holistic development in Gonja communities through literacy.
  • For Gonja families to influence one another to be open to hear the message of Jesus.
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