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:
Jie is one of the most unreached people that share similar culture and language dialect with Toposa. We had a survey trip in April for Jie Lopeat and we found one of the greatest needs is water.
John, one of the Kenyan missionaries working among the Toposa, got information that Jie of Lopeat have sought refuge among the Toposa of Mogos, 35km away, in order to get water. The dam that was helping them has since dried up.
Pray for them and that peace will prevail between them and Toposa. Historically they used to fight and steal cattle but peace was made some time last year. However, they still they get their animals stolen.
Pray for our missionary team who are going to live among the Toposa for a long term mission work together with their families. Their names are Julius and Pasquina Magu, Mark and Lonah Keter, Isaiah and Nida Bwala, and Mary Nachii. Most of them are relocating this week to various places among the Toposa. And they will be reaching the Jie, and other unreached communities. Pray for all missionaries and people involved in reaching out with discipleship among the Toposa.