The Alagwa of Tanzania

Population: 40,000

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:

May the whole family come!

Praise God for a devout young Muslim man, and our dear friend, who has been listening to the Alagwaisa Bible stories and the Swahili Bible on an audio player. He came last night and said that he has been listening, and has questions. We encouraged him and his friend to come with their questions and we could talk together and he agreed. Earlier in the week, we asked his father, who also has scriptures on an audio player, whether he was ready to follow Jesus. He said he needed to ask his children so they could all decide together. Please pray for this extended family, where the mother/wife is already following Jesus, for all of them to decide to follow Jesus together. They are a key respected family in the area and the impact of a family decision would not only be huge for them, but for the wider community too.

Resisting the devil

Praise God for one Alagwa old lady who has been opening up her heart to Jesus for some time. She has struggled with demons for a long time, and is now clear and agrees that Jesus is the one who can help her. A team mate who has been talking and praying with her for a long time came to church with her last week. She was prayed for and one of the demons left. Later in the week she said the demons came and strongly said to her: “We don’t like that Jesus!” and she told them that she was with Jesus now. Please pray for her; there is a battle. May she continue to resist the devil, and see him flee. May she be completely released of all demonic holds on her life. May she come to know the love of Jesus more and more.

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