Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) *
Indonesia and Malaysia
The Minangkabau are indigenous to
They are famous for their tradition of
leaving their home village and working in other areas to find
their fortune. Many of them have moved to other regions of
Indonesia. They are the fourth largest ethnic group in Indonesia
and have a great deal of influence. The name Minangkabau
literally means "winning" (menang) "water bufalo" (kabau or
kerbau). It supposedly reflects an ancient contest that was used
to determine the outcome of a war. The Javanese "champion" was a
huge buffalo, while the Minangkabau chose an unweaned calf.
After starving the calf before the fight, they tied a knife to
its snout. When the animals met, the hunger-crazed Minangkabau
calf tried to nurse, causing the Javanese beast to bleed to
death. Today, the water buffalo figures prominently in
Minangkabau myth, culture and architecture.
In the past, Minangkabau villages were small and led by a
chief and his advisors. Every village had autonomy. Kings and
nobles were not allowed to interfere.
In Malaysia the Minangkabau have their own culture and
royal line that dates back several centuries.
They speak the Malay language, but have retained
their own dialect that reflects lingual roots in the
homes have roof eaves that soar outwards like the horns of the
buffalo. The Minangkabau are famous nationwide for their
cuisine. They have restaurants literally all over the country.
They are also traders. They deal primarily in clothing
and jewelry. Their
culture is matrilineal, the family name and the family wealth is
inherited by the daughter. In the house, much of the
responsibilities are held by the wife's brother, called ninik
mamak. This uncle is required to take care of his nephews and
nieces and watch over everything connected to the family
heirlooms and inheritance. The role of the uncle is decreasing
these days as more Minangkabau change to the more common way of
life of the husband leading the house.
Indonesia – 5,965,000,
Malaysia – 591,000
In Indonesia they are located in West Sumatra.
In Malaysia they are located in the state of Negeri Sembilan in
In Indonesia they speak Minang, which has many dialects.
In Malaysia they speak Negeri Sembilan Malay.
In Indonesia – adherent 0.05% and evangelical 0.02%
In Malaysia – adherent 0.00% and evangelical 0.00%
The New Testament is complete and the Jesus film is available.
Missionaries: Church planting has been started.
Pray for a church planting team for the Minangkabau in
Pray for wisdom and good success for the Christian
workers in Sumatra.
Pray that signs will follow the missionaries and
believers that live in this area.
Pray that God will reveal himself to the Minangkabau
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