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:

New Pastor

Please pray for the new pastor and his family coming to work amongst the Alagwa who will move here in a few weeks’ time. Pray that God will give him vision and perseverance as he leads the church.

Jesus is God

Please pray for an Alagwa lady who is a secret believer. She and her sister in law and another guy were chatting in our front room. The guy had been talking to us about how he didn’t believe Jesus is God. He asked her if she thought Jesus is God and she said, “Yes Jesus is God”! This is the first open confession of this kind I have heard from any one in the village. Please pray for her that this confession will give her strength and that she would know Jesus’ presence with her.

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