Dendi

  • Pre-Entry
  • Pre-Evangelism
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Phase-Out
  • Completed

About the People

The Dendi people of Benin are located in the northernmost region of the country, mainly in the lush plains of the Niger River. Some of the Dendi live in the high grass areas, where there is little water and sparse vegetation. Sizable communities can also be found in the nearby countries of Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The Dendi are one of approximately 70 ethnic groups in Benin, the least evangelized non-Muslim country south of the Sahara. They trace their origin to the eighth century kingdom of Za. They embraced Islam as early as 1010, but it was mixed with their original beliefs in animism.

Dendi settlements usually consist of round, mud or thatched homes with straw roofs. Today, an increasing number of villagers live in rectangular mud brick houses with corrugated tin roofs. Dendi settlements along the Niger River contain many rice fields and garden plots. Villages farther from the river are surrounded by bush areas and cultivated fields. Cowpeas, groundnuts, and manioc are the usual crops, but millet is grown from June to September during the brief rainy season.

Farming is considered noble labor among the Dendi and is for men only. The women have gardens in which they grow mangoes, guavas, citrus fruits, papayas, dates, and bananas during the hot, dry season. They also cultivate carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, and various types of squash. Most of the garden work is done by family members. In addition to farming, the Dendi also raise some livestock.

The Dendi are almost entirely Muslim. Even though Islam introduced new elements to the Dendi culture, it left the underlying framework of custom and tradition virtually untouched. Islam is superficially important. Every town has a mosque. Some communities have imams (religious leaders) who teach Islamic philosophy and lead Muslim ceremonies. However, spirit possession, magic, sorcery, ancestor worship and witchcraft remain vital components of Dendi belief.

About the Project

The Republic of Benin, a West African country roughly the size of Pennsylvania, is bordered by Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, and the Atlantic Ocean. Once the seat of the powerful Dahomey kingdom, Benin became a French colony in 1900 and gained independence in 1960, subsequently becoming the first African country to successfully transition from a dictatorship to a pluralistic political system. Benin’s natural resources include oil, marble, limestone,and timber. Industries include textiles, cigarettes, food and beverages, construction materials, and petroleum. However, the economy is chiefly based on agriculture. The tropical climate has two rainy and two dry seasons.

Unfortunately, the Dendi suffer times of drought, and malnutrition is also a problem for many of them. Currently, there are some Christian resources available in the Dendi language. A majority of these precious people have not heard a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Resources

Joshua Project—Dendi

People-Group Facts

  • Population: 100,000
  • Language: Dendi
  • Religion: Islam (with indigenous religious undercurrents)

Frontier Stories

The Dendi Project—God’s Blessings and Miracles

We were constantly amazed by the power of God working through us to transform suffering souls into joyful servants of the Most High.

By: Michée Badé
April 01 2017, 7:02 am | Comments 0

The Dendi Project: What God Has Done

Thank you for your prayers and support that made the Dendi Project possible.

By: Michée Badé
March 01 2017, 8:46 am | Comments 0

Christmas in Kandi

The relationships we build become avenues for the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and build God’s kingdom.

By: Michée Badé
January 01 2017, 4:19 am | Comments 0

Maman Oib

Maman Oib trusts God because she knows He cares.

By: Michée Badé
December 01 2016, 6:00 am | Comments 0

A Dream, a Prayer, and a Mystery Unsealed

If God was asking His people to pray, why didn’t He answer?

By: Dr. Norman Moll and Michée Badé
November 01 2016, 6:03 am | Comments 0

Soul Sorrow

By the grace of God, we shall overcome together the “bitterest cup which God puts into our hands.”

By: Michée Badé
October 01 2016, 8:13 am | Comments 1

Lechami’s Spiritual Journey

Lechami is not only our answer to prayer, but yours as well.

By: Michée Badé
July 01 2016, 11:23 am | Comments 0

Polygamy in West Africa

Out of this tragedy God gave a gift of new freedom and joy to Papa and Mrs. Ibalowo.

By: Michée Badé
June 01 2016, 9:01 am | Comments 1

Stealing Church Property

Despite the Dendi belief that the thief had brought down an eternal curse upon himself, our church decided to pray that God will forgive him.

By: Michée Badé
May 01 2016, 9:47 am | Comments 0

Fouteela vs. the Witchdoctor

For the last few years, the witchdoctor of Sonsoro has considered our work a direct challenge to his authority.

By: Michée Badé
April 01 2016, 4:50 am | Comments 0

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