The Toposa of South Sudan
Pray for the Toposa of South Sudan. They are one of the largest groups in South Sudan, but are being marginalised by the government. They live in a dry rugged land and raise cattle. They are often in conflict with other groups and raid cattle from across the Kenyan and Ugandan borders. They are traditionally animists, praying and making sacrifices through a medium.
Population: 700,000-1 million
Location and Background: One of the largest tribal groups in S. Sudan, the Toposa live in organized villages in an arid, rugged, hilly land with vegetation of shrubs and grass, and seasonal streams.
History: The Toposa are part of the Ateker cluster, believing they moved away from the Losolia Mountains in Uganda due to drought. They believe that when the first people (Murle and Didinga) arrived they cheated the Toposa by taking the gazelle meat and leaving only soup for the Toposa. This precipitated the split. Successive governments in Khartoum and Juba have marginalized the Toposa. At some point they were armed by the north to fight the SPLA but later changed sides. They have regular disputes with other groups in their area, and also raid tribes in Kenya and Uganda.
Culture: A patrilineal society, cultural norms and values are passed to children early. Culture is transmitted orally through songs, dance, music, poems and folklore. Much has to do with the accumulation and keeping of large herds of cattle. The boys are put in age-sets and taught to herd. The girls look after the home, and care for the elderly and smaller siblings. Men wear a draped cloth, and women wear leather skirts embellished with colored beads. Both men and women scar their bodies. The young men are proud of the beauty of their hair. They abhor the practice of circumcision. Interestingly, they do not count people or animals. They share certain totems and body marks, and they come together for social occasions such as dances, marriages, funerals and cattle raids. Decisions are made by the men as a community. Respect for elders is mandatory.
Religion: The Toposa believe in the existence of a supreme being and the spirits of departed ones. They pray and make sacrifices, using a medium. Chiefs, sub-chiefs, medicine men, and witchdoctors all wield administrative and spiritual power. They believe chiefs are nearer to God by virtue of their wisdom.
Latest Prayer Updates:
Praise God for the strategic meeting between 100 Toposa leaders that took place in mid-August in Naliel. They appointed 6 to oversee the Toposa movement. Praise God that some even walked 96 kilometers over two days to meet. Pray against the increased persecution that has emerged in 4 areas with severe attacks and beatings. Pray for the believers that testify that they are ready to die for Jesus as they continue to meet. May this fuel even more hunger and thirst for righteousness. May the Kingdom of God be made manifest in every Toposa village. Please also pray for the Toposa, Nyangatom and Jiye (TNJ) cluster strategy coordination team as they meet. Pray for effective distribution of needed resources such as Jesus Film solar backpacks, audio Bibles and chronological Bible story cloths. Pray for the on-going training of disciple-multipliers from each group and the fulfillment of their commitment to engage 72 new villages by the end of 2020.
There has been another persecution at Nabois church. When people were gathered, youths came in and they beat the believers mercilessly. One of the disciples has run 15km to escape. Please pray for healing and strength for the believers and for conviction of sin for the youth.