Let us intercede this week for Daniel Dama from Benin.
Located in West Africa, the Republic of Benin is home to an estimated 11.7 million people. According to the 2013 census, 49% of Beninese are Christians (26% Roman Catholic), 28% are Muslims, 12% practice Vodun (Voodoo), and 12% follow other traditional religions or are irreligious. In this tropical nation, most of the population depends on agriculture, especially subsistence farming. Along with the shores of Togo and Nigeria, Benin’s southern border forms part of the historic Slave Coast, where millions of Africans were forced into slavery between the early 16th and late 19th centuries.
Dama is completing his PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Please pray with us for Dama as he prepares to defend his dissertation this summer. In response to religious extremism in his context, Dama develops peacebuilding and missional resources using Christian and Muslim Fulbe folk music. In Benin, approximately 7% of the population belongs to the Fulbe tribe, a large and influential ethnic group with around 40 million members worldwide. Dwelling mostly in West and Central Africa, the Fulbe are predominately Muslims, and approximately one-third live as nomadic herders.
In 2020, Dama published an article that distinguishes the Western peacebuilding model, focused on conferences, lectures, and resolutions, from the African model, focused on community and kinship. He advocates using the African model to build interfaith peace in Benin and beyond. In 2019, Fuller Studio featured Dama’s story and ministry in A Song in His Heart. Dama and his wife Esther have four children: Rejoice, Muusa, Sambo, and Miriam.
Dama shares the following message:
My home country, the Republic of Benin in sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the tiniest nations on the continent. It is bordered by Nigeria (east), Niger (north), Burkina Faso (northwest), Togo (west), and the Atlantic Ocean (south). It used to be a model of democracy and oasis of peace in the region; however, the country now faces many challenges, and churches seem to be paralyzed, unfortunately.
I have founded a Christian NGO, titled Africa Sings, that employs arts and culture to build peace and create bridges across faiths and local cultures. Africa Sings operates under three fundamental domains:
(1) Education and training: periodic training sessions, seminars, and workshops on music and singing, including a peace song workshop with a mixed Christian-Muslim team, as well as itinerant or mobile peace music training.
Both trainers and trainees, including youth, will be multiethnic and multifaith. The diversity is aimed at cultivating and promoting a spirit of unity and mutual understanding among youth, who are the future leaders of Africa.
(2) Documenting and producing African indigenous peace music: collecting, transcribing, and printing songs, especially African Christian songs, designed for interfaith and intercultural peacebuilding efforts.
These efforts will produce repertoires and publish a standard (multilingual) hymnal. A recording studio will be put in place to produce music and promote local gifted African Christians. These are incredible strategies for diffusing peace culture in Africa.
(3) Music events: peace song festivals and concerts for peacebuilding.
This will provide platform or a common ground for both African Christians and African Muslims to meet, interact, learn, and perform together. This will also be an entry point for Christians into Muslim contexts.
Access some of our music clips here, including our recent clip, Peace in Benin.
Pray for peace in my country.
Pray for Benin’s churches to rise and spiritually combat the sociopolitical ills that are gradually gaining ground in Benin.
Pray for church leaders to have missional visions.
Pray that Africa Sings may impact many lives.
With kind regards,