The Konjo people cluster consists of two groups: the Konjo Pegunungan (mountain group) and the Konjo Pesisir (coastal group). The Konjo Pesisir people are also called Tiro. The Konjo Hitam (Black Konjo) people are considered part of the Konjo Pesisir. They live in South Sulawesi.
The Konjo Hitam consider themselves the original inhabitants and regard their area as the center of traditional customs for all of the Konjo Pesisir. They have never had a king and do not follow a system of social stratification like other Konjo groups.
The Konjo Pesisir speak the Konjo language, which has several dialects. The Konjo language is part of the Makassar language family which also includes Makasar, Konjo Pesisir, and Bentong.
What are their lives like?
The Konjo Pesisir are farmers. They use the same system of crop sharing as their mountain counterparts.
The Konjo Pesisir houses are seen along the main roads, but they also live off the main road and near the fields in the rural areas. Their community is divided into a series of governmental administrative units, the smallest of which has 10 households.
The Konjo Pesisir enjoy gathering in groups to discuss a wide range of matters. They help each other in everything, from finances to offering condolences after a death. Despite conflicts among themselves, they are united in facing threats from the outside. They keep traditional ways of living, such as wearing black clothes, not using tools, and practicing animistic worship.
The Konjo Pesisir tend to be materialistic and proud. They have a competitive desire to gain more wealth, but spend lavishly to impress others. They also feel that they must protect their siri (honor) as well as the community’s siri.
What are their beliefs?
The Konjo Pesisir are Muslim. However, animistic practices are still maintained and the Islamic religious leader does not have much influence. The people choose him for leading religious ceremonies and duties in the mosque. A dukun (shaman/healer) from the Konjo Hitam is called to perform ceremonies and to heal the sick. An Amma Toa (old father) from the Konjo Hitam is regarded as the religious leader in the area and is feared because of his magical powers.
What are their needs?
The Konjo Pesisir need to be prepared for encountering the changes of the modern world so that they can adapt to the changing world without losing their identity. They need leaders who understand loyalty to traditional customs while also introducing new and beneficial practices. Often, their loyalty to certain customs (i.e. paying for lavish ceremonies, refusal of schools) has been to their own disadvantage.