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:
Praise God for a great week with 2 Alagwa speakers recording the first lot of passages from the translation of Luke in Alagwaisa. Pray for these portions of God’s word as they are listened to and studied over the next few weeks. May there be much fruit!
Praise God for two “secret” believers in one village, both of whom have recently called their friends to join them in studying God word. One did this completely on her own initiative. May they all continue to hear God’s truth together and apply it to their lives.