The Lokwa of South Sudan
The Lokwa are farmers and pastoralists, living in the fertile area of South Sudan near the Uganda border. They believe in the existence of a spiritual being (Najok) for whom every household must build a small stone shrine (natifini). They give offerings at the beginning of planting and hunting seasons, and also believe in the power of the fortune-tellers, medicine-men and rain-makers. Each clan has an animal as a totem (leopard, bush-buck, monkey, elephant, crocodile etc) and they believe they transform into one of them when they die. The Lokwa find valour in cattle raids and warfare. Many have been displaced due to the conflict and are living in refugee camps.
Pray that the Lokwa would be found by the good shepherd: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4
Praise the Lord there are some believers. Pray that they will live by the Spirit and will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature…the acts of the sinful nature are obvious…discord, jealous, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Pray that the sinful nature will be defeated, and the fruit of the Spirit will flourish in the church!
Location and Background: A sub-tribe of the Lango, the Lokwa are agriculturalists and pastoralists living near the border with Uganda on the slopes of the Imatong massif. The area is mountainous with gentle slops and valleys, good rainfall and fertile soil. Their relationships with the Lotuka is not good due to cattle raiding and occasional feuds.
History: The Lokwa are a Nilo-Hamite group who came to their present location in the 18th century during the great migration from the east. The war and extensive trafficking in small arms and light weapons has had a devastating effect on the Lokwa, causing massive displacement and destruction of communities. Lokwa communities can be found in refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda.
Culture: Each clan has an animal as a totem (leopard, bush-buck, monkey, elephant, crocodile etc) and they believe they transform into one of them upon their death. Their identity is bound up in their social stature, valor in warfare, cattle raids and wealth (in cattle and agricultural produce). Their cultural identity is expressed in songs, music, folklore, eating habits, age-class system and body marks. Initiation of men in the same age-set involves killing a goat and serving the un-skinned roasted meat to the village elders. After initiation they are allowed to sit in certain seats and take part in other celebrations.
Religion: The Lokwa believe in the existence of a spiritual being (Najok) for whom every household must build a small stone shrine (natifini). They give offerings at the beginning of planting and hunting seasons, and also believe in the power of the fortune-tellers, medicine-men and rain-makers.
Latest Prayer Updates:
As food becomes more and more scarce, pray that their physical hunger will remind the Lokwa of their spiritual hunger, and that they will turn to the Bread of Life to satisfy them (John 6:35).
Pray for the day there would be a community of Lokwa believers who know the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), and are able to spread the Gospel among their own tribe and among neighbouring tribes.