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:

Identified with Christ

Please pray for a couple who are really showing evidence of their faith in Christ in their private lives. In their public lives, they are still behaving and self identifying as Muslims. May God’s Holy Spirit give them the understanding to see that their identity is now in Christ, and the strength to let their lights shine.

Trusting their Heavenly Father

In the past year two sons of a powerful village elder have become baptized believers.  Their father is trying to use scare tactics about their inheritance to control them. He has summoned them to court tomorrow. Please pray that they will trust their Heavenly Father, and his Holy Spirit will continue to remind them of his love that doesn’t control us through fear.

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