The Matumbi of Tanzania

Population: 183,000

Location and Background: South Eastern Tanzania.The Matumbu live on the South-eastern coastal delta area between the Rufuji River and Kilwa and from the Indian Ocean to the Matumbi Hills.

History: The Matumbi believe they have been in their present area for about 700-800 years. Before that they reportedly made their way northeast from what is now Malawi. They came under the influence of Muslim traders and many converted to Islam. German colonists arrived in Tanganyika in 1885, and forced many to be slaves. In 1905-1906 the Matumbi staged a major rebellion against the German colonial rulers, called the Maji-Mai Rebellion. The Germans eventually put down the rebellion in 1907, at a great loss of life among the African tribal peoples. After the Germans lost World War I, the British colonized Tanzania. With the coming of independence, the first President, Julius Nyerere, strongly emphasized that Tanzania was a unified country. All peoples were to learn and speak Kiswahili with the use of tribal languages discouraged and today, Kiswahili is widely spoken among the Matumbi people.

Culture: They are of Bantu origin, closely related to the Ndengereko and Rufiji. They are described as having an independent spirit and are proud and honest. Many Matumbi are forest dwellers. They use herbal remedies and have knowledge of about 200 medicinal native plants. Most Matumbi people live in small villages, doing subsistence farming and agriculture. Some are fishermen along the Rufiji River. Others own small shops along the main highway. Most build huts of pole and stick frame with mud wattle for the walls. Roofs are made of thatched palm leaf. If finances permit, some will plaster the inside and outside of the house walls with cement and put in a cement floor. The Matumbi Caves in the Matumbi Hills were an important hideaway for local rebel troops during the Maji Maji revolution. The most impressive cave, Nangoma, is revered locally for housing an important deity, and its name probably derives from the Swahili ngoma – dance – suggesting a history of use for ritual celebrations and worship. Matumbi children are expected to attend government primary schools, located in major villages.

Religion: Islam and Folk Islam. Ancestor worship, Islam, spiritism and superstition are all part of present-day Matumbi culture and religion.

Ask the Lord to lift the veil from the eyes of the Matumbi, that they could proclaim, “And we have seen and testify that the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)

Latest Prayer Updates:

I loved you at your darkest. Rom 5:8

Drunk and beat up, Baba C stumbled up to my house. “Lecho! Lecho! Help me! I’m dying!”, he cried. When we looked closer we saw his head was split open, bleeding onto the tree he was leaning against. “I’m dying!” Help me!” he said again. “Okay, Baba C. We’re going to get you some help.” As we were driving to the hospital, the story was pieced together that they were playing a card game, gambling, and ended up fighting over the money.  While we were waiting for the nurse, I tried to comfort him. “No, Baba C, you’re not dying. Maybe you are receiving a second chance, a new life.” And I shared the gospel with him. This past week Baba C came to visit me and thank me and let me know that he has thought about it and is ready to make a decision to follow Christ. He’s tired of his old life and needs the power of Jesus to change. Praise God! That same day he went to my teammate’s house and they led him in a prayer of repentance and receiving Jesus and he seems eager to study the Bible and grow. He even said he hasn’t had a desire to do drugs since the day he prayed! Please pray with us for Baba C to continue to experience new life in Christ and to grow as a disciple. Pray that he would be bold in sharing what Christ has done for him.

You prayed…He answered

On Nov 11, 2018 you prayed this request: “On November 12 the Matumbi version of the Jesus Film will be shown publicly for the first time in a Muslim village. Please pray for protection from the Lord for all the logistics. Pray that many people will come see the life of Jesus, and hear the invitation to receive Him by faith. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work powerfully to overcome any obstacles, and that many people will come to Christ this night.” And God answered: Over 200 people came to the showing of the Jesus film. Praise the Lord!

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