Photo of the Soninke of West Africa


Quick facts about the Soninke

  • Location: Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Gambia
  • Also Known As: Serakole, Sarakole
  • Status: NOT Engaged by IMB
  • Population: 1,865,000
  • Primary Religion: Islam
  • Number of Christians: 40 known Christians
  • Language: Soninke

  • Largest population is in Mali, but many Soninke are also scattered throughout neighboring countries
  • Sorghum, rice, peanuts, and millet farmers
  • They raise large numbers of goats, sheep, horses, chickens, and cattle
  • Most all practice Islam, while a minority cling to tribal religions
  • The complete Bible is not available in their language
Pray the Lord of the harvest will raise up laborers among these farmers.

Learn more about the Soninke!

Due to their Islamic beliefs, the Soninke often have small mosques throughout their village. The Soninke believe that not only are they protected by spirits, but that they can also be harmed by them. Their religious ceremonies and rituals are based on this belief. The rituals are intended to praise and honor the spirits so that good fortune will be brought to the people.

The Soninke watch for certain acts and signs from nature. They believe these acts and signs will predict future happenings if they are read correctly.  The fox and the hyena are both watched very closely.  The new year begins when they first approach the village.  Fall is a time for many ceremonies to occur. The chief of each family sacrifices a bull at the west side of the village. Also, at this time, those who are considered wealthy sacrifice very fine animals in hopes for prosperity  in the upcoming year.

Downloadable Resources

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Images of the Soninke (click images to enlarge)

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