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:

Couple sharing with family

Praise God for a couple who are continuing to follow God together, and are getting to grips with what it means to be Alagwa and follow Jesus. After a few visits to some of their wider family a few hours away, they are excited to disciple the ones amongst them who are now seeking. Please pray for this couple for continued boldness and perseverance to travel the three hours to disciple these family members and also for their protection as a couple. Please pray for their marriage and their relationships with others in their community.

Continuing to live for Jesus

Praise God for a baptised Alagwa believer who has featured a few times in PA. She has continued to live for Jesus in her community and people are asking why she is different. Recently, after teaching about discipleship, she was so encouraged that she also could be the one to encourage and teach others. Pray that she will find people to regularly disciple in her neighbourhood.

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