Beja of East Africa


Photo Source: Joshua Project

There are over 3.7 million Beja in East Africa. The Beja believe that they are descendants of Noah’s grandson Cush and usually refer to themselves by the land in which they are living in. Among Beja people, there are 5 main tribes or clans which the Beja belong to. The Beja are very conservative and typically only marry within their clan. The Beja are open to other clans but can seem aggressive to foreigners. They believe that all outsiders can be potential enemies. The men usually grow a large afro, in Beja culture, it is thought that the larger the bush of hair on a man’s head the manlier a man is. Camels play an important role in Beja culture, they are the basis for their economy. All the Beja are devout Muslims. They began converting to Islam in the mid-1400s. Many of the Beja practice folk Islam. They believe that spirits can become animals.

Engagement // What’s Happening Now

In 1991, response to the gospel began among the Beja when a believer was baptized in a shallow river – the first Beja convert in centuries. Today, by generous estimate, there may be 30 born-again believers among this large people group.

To join in reaching the Beja visit Live Dead.

Sustainability // The Bigger Story

The Beja have successfully isolated themselves from any proclamation of the gospel. However, they have begun moving into settlements developed by the government. Some 50 percent of Beja have taken advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the amenities of schools, clinics and farming tools. These changes in lifestyle provide fertile soil in which to sow the gospel. Church planting efforts require creativity and Spirit-inspired strategy among this predominately Muslim people group.

Will you join in planting the church among the Beja?

 Partnership // Move Beyond

Entrepreneurs: Famine and drought have plagued much of East Africa. Agricultural and water initiatives are needed to bring stability to the Beja.

Readers, Writers, Speakers: The Beja speak a language called Bedawiyet. Of the more than 2 million speakers of this language, only a few have heard the gospel proclaimed in their own tongue. Pray for creative ways in which the Beja can hear the gospel message.

Problem Solvers: The most common cause of death among the Beja is pneumonia and hepatitis, both preventable and treatable infections. Pray for compassion ministries to enter and bring not only healing but the message of salvation to the Beja.

Interested in more opportunities? Visit the Wide Open website.


bforsmanBeja of East Africa