Population: 1.6 million

Religion: >99% practice Islam

Less than 100 known followers of Jesus in the world

Homelands: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, and Guinea Bissau, though large groups of immigrants are working in France, Spain, the United States, etc

If we ask people in the south east of Senegal for typical cha­racteristics of their So­ninke neighbours, their response is: the Soninkes are hard-working, and if someone wants to make an impres­sion, he too must be hard-working; they are strong Muslims and prefer to send their children to Koranic schools to learn the Koran by heart than to send them to the government school; family ties are stronger than in other ethnic groups; they follow their traditions closely, are very aware of their ethnic identity, and are a tight-knit community; they are rich in comparison to other ethnic groups, and even in small villages one finds a majority of cement-block houses rather than the usual mud hut, and tractors or private cars alongside the usual donkeys and bicycles.







The Soninkes are spread over at least 5 West-African countries. It is in Mali that they are the most numerous, but are also well represented in Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania. The Soninke are predominately subsistence farmers. Some of them are affluent commercial traders. Many Soninke men go to foreign countries for work. Large communities of Soninke can be found in France, Spain and the United States, as well as in African countries where diamonds can be found. They work abroad and contribute to the welfare of the whole family in their home country by sending money regularly.




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