The Alagwa of Tanzania
Location and Background: The Alagwa live in in a geographically remote area at 4,000-6,000’ elevation in the hills and mountains of central Tanzania. They live in 15 villages, and although the Bubu river runs through the lower lands, the higher regions suffer from lack of water and they often must walk miles to find water to meet the needs of their families.
History: The Alagwa are a Cushitic group, who migrated south from the horn of Africa. They believe they are descended from Habesh, who was the 10th generation from Noah’s son Ham, and are still living with the curse put on their ancestor.
Culture: The Alagwa are subsistence farmers, growing maize and millet. They also keep cows, goats and sheep. They are very community oriented, living in houses made of burned brick with roofs of thatched grass. The Alagwa speak both Alagwaisa and Kiswahili.
Religion: A tribal legend says that once when some Alagwa visited Mecca they were rejected by the Muslims for having ‘no religion’—only animistic beliefs. They later embraced Islam, so that now well over 90% are Muslims. However, they seamlessly blend their traditional beliefs with their Islamic ones. Allah, Mungu and Lala’a are all used to refer to God. So although they are called Muslims, their beliefs and practices are strongly steeped in their traditional ways of life.
Latest Prayer Updates:
Pray for an Alagwa couple who are beginning to listen to the Alagwaisa Bible stories and seem to have a real hunger to understand the ways of Jesus. The husband is taking a lot of ownership in the process, facilitating and encouraging his wife’s learning. Pray for them to come to Jesus together as a family and for them to live a courageous and clear witness in the community.
Praise God for the Alagwa woman baptised a few months back. Despite having come from a hugely demonic background, she is continuing to follow Jesus and rely on him. Please pray for her as she continues to be discipled. Please pray for protection and – Ephesians 3, 17-8- a deepening understanding of how much God loves her.