Makasar of Indonesia


1.5 million

Primary Location: South Sulawesi, Indonesia
Languages: Makasar, Bahasa Indonesia

Who are the Makasar?

The Makasar live in southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia.


In the late afternoon, Makasar people sit on their front porches or by the roadside, chatting in small groups. In good weather, young people play soccer, volleyball or badminton. On weekends, city residents and visitors from smaller towns enjoy strolling through the modern shopping malls of Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi.

Ancient Makasar writings, the Lontara, are still preserved. Originally written on palm leaves, the writings give directions for planting, harvesting and other essentials of Makasar life.


For centuries, the Makasar have engaged in seafaring trade. Many Makasar also fish, sadly often using dynamite that damages coral ecosystems. In the district of Jeneponto, villagers produce salt by saltwater evaporation. Rice, maize and cassava are cultivated in the interior regions. Makasar from across the area work in their capital city as tailors and seamstresses, cooks, mechanics, bus and pedicab drivers, shop assistants, housemaids and construction workers.

Makasar sailors and fishermen are known for their outstanding navigational abilities. Like their ancestors, these seafarers navigate using experience and intuition rather than tools like a sextant or compass. Makasar craftsmen build wooden ships up to 30 meters (90 feet) long, using only the blueprint in their heads.


Islam dominates South Sulawesi, and the Makasar are proud of their Muslim identity. Those who make the pilgrimage to Mecca secure religious and social status. Muslim brotherhoods are influential in urban areas.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that Makasar who follow Jesus would form house fellowships. May they lovingly witness to relatives who oppose them, until those relatives become followers themselves.

  • Pray that Chinese-background followers of Jesus in Makassar would reach out to their Makasar neighbors and employees.

  • Pray for the daily short-wave radio broadcast in the Makasar language to reach many.

  • Pray for more native speakers to help refine the Makasar translation, being readied for publication. May these checkers be convinced by what they read.

  • Pray for more Indonesian and international followers of Jesus to study the Makasar language and culture and to find jobs in Makasar communities. May they provide each other moral and spiritual support amidst the frustrations of reaching out. May God protect them from physical and spiritual challenges, and empower them to share the Good News.

Read the full profile

Makasar of Indonesia

Learn more about the Makasar

(External links)

Joshua Project People Profile
Makasar Photos
Lontara Script
Makasar Language