The Banda of Ghana
The 12,400 Banda inhabit a small region in western Ghana. Ghana's European
name was "Gold Coast," named for the gold in the area. In 1957,
Gold Coast gained her independence and took back her former name, Ghana.
Ghana's coastal and far north regions are savannas (flat grasslands); in
between the grasslands is a forest zone. The Banda live in the northern
savanna region. The low annual rainfall there makes it the least developed
region of the country.
Many species of animals live in the savanna region. These include monkeys,
buffaloes, elephants, lions, giant snails, and a variety of birds. There
are also numerous types of insects. Among the most dangerous are mosquitoes,
tsetse flies, and blackflies. These insects carry diseases such as malaria,
yellow fever, sleeping sickness, and river blindness. Unfortunately, the
territory that is occupied by the Banda has the most exposure to these
What are their lives like?
The main source of income for the Banda is farming. Sorghum and manioc
(a shrubby plant with a thick, starchy root) are their main crops. Potatoes,
peanuts, bananas, corn, peas, rice, and melons are also raised. The Banda
do not raise many cattle because of the tsetse flies. However, they do
keep goats, dogs, chickens, and some sheep. Hunting is also important because
the meat provides most of the protein in their diet. Very little fishing
is done because of the dangerous insects swarming around the rivers.
The men generally clear the land, while the women do most of the planting
and harvesting. The older men hunt and the younger men perform the required
"bride service." This entails tending to their in-laws' farms.
Polygyny (having multiple wives) is common among the Banda. Wives live
in their own private huts, to which the husband rotates. There is a "chief
wife" who has authority over all the others.
A Banda village is arranged in a circle around a central court. Each
neighborhood has from three to ten huts. A typical house is round with
low walls of beaten dirt and a thatch roof that is supported by a central
post. Each community has a headman, or a clan chief who lives in the central
court of the village. He handles the affairs of the people by acting as
What are their beliefs?
The Banda tribe is 85% Sunni Muslim.
Islam is based on the teachings of Mohammed, the prophet. There are five
essential duties in Islam: affirming that Allah is the only god and that
Mohammed is his prophet; praying; giving alms; fasting; and making at least
one pilgrimage to Mecca, if possible.
The non-Muslim Banda practice pagan ethnic religions such as ancestor
worship (praying to deceased ancestors for help or guidance). When a person
dies, the family sets up a special shrine in his honor. Every important
step in a man's life is recorded at his shrine. The ancestral spirits are
worshipped at the shrines, usually by the men. The spirits are believed
to be "guardian spirits" over the family's children.
The Banda also believe in "bush spirits" or "fairies."
The fairies are believed to be small creatures with large heads covered
with rough hair. They are rarely seen and act as humans would act. The
fairies are said to take revenge on people who offend them, by either making
them insane or killing them.
The Banda are very superstitious. They wear magical charms and make
medicines to protect themselves from curses or diseases. When a woman has
twins, this is viewed as a punishment or a curse on the family. Parents
of twins must be purified. The Banda believe that anyone who defies the
magical charm or purifying medicine will be cursed.
What are their needs?
There are currently four missions agencies working among the Banda.
However, there are only a handful of known Banda Christians in northern
Ghana. Evangelistic resources in the Banda language, Ligbi, are very limited.
Additional tools and laborers are needed.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Ghana and share
Christ with the Banda.
- Ask God to give the Banda Christians opportunities to share the Gospel
with their own people.
- Pray that the Lord will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies
that are working among the Banda.
- Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to translate the Bible
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Banda towards Christians
so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Pray that God will open the hearts of Ghana's governmental leaders
to the Gospel.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are
keeping the Banda bound.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Banda by the
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Banda
- Country: Ghana
- Their language: Ligbi
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 6
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 4
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 2,200 (17%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 10,200 (83%)
- Country: Ghana
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations:
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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