The Tsimihety of Madagascar
Scripture: “All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God.” (Psalm 86:9-10)
Population: 1,963,000 (according to Joshua Project website)
Location: The Tsimihety live in the mountainous North-Central area of Madagascar.
History: There are accounts of Tsimihety which date back to the 16th century. The current people are descendants of immigrants from Betsimisaraka villages of the East coast who fled Merina oppression in the early 19th century. Tension between the two peoples continue to the present day.
Culture: Their name means “those who do not cut their hair” which was a sign of refusal to recognize the monarch. They are considered extremely egalitarian, refusing to recognize authority.
Boys and young men tend the cows, and the rest of the family farm, mostly rice.
Religion: Many Tsimihety are animists. They have a vague belief in a supreme being who presides over the spirit world, which is inhabited by the spirits of their ancestors. Veneration of ancestral spirits through rituals, offerings and adhering to a strict system of taboos are believed to lead to blessing.
Latest Prayer Updates:
From 27-29 November, the Sakalava music group from Nosy Be are visiting Mandritsara to have a three day workshop with Tsimihety worship musicians, looking at ways of sharing the story of the Bible through songs in local dialect. Please pray that this would be a real encouragement to both groups as they share testimonies and ideas. Please pray that this would lead to the growth of God’s church amongst the Sakalava and Tsimihety people.
The two weeks of training for village church leaders went very well with 113 leaders attending the first week! We were particularly encouraged to see many of those who have been involved in the training for the last 7 years, bringing other potential leaders from their churches. 45 of the 113 attending have signed up for the next 6-year round of residential training due to start in October this year. Pray for these leaders as they return home and serve their churches.