The M of Tanzania

Population: 183,000

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

History: The M 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 M 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 M 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 M are forest dwellers. They use herbal remedies and have knowledge of about 200 medicinal native plants. Most M 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 M Caves in the M 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. M 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 M culture and religion.

Ask the Lord to lift the veil from the eyes of the M, 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:

Public Testimony

Praise the Lord for many M who have decided to follow Jesus in the last six years. Pray that as they study the Scriptures, some of them will desire to receive further training in the Bible, so as to teach it and explain it accurately. Pray that whole families will give public testimony to their faith in Christ in such a way that many others follow their example.

Discipleship training

“Aug” and two of the Catalyst Team leaders will be facilitating a discipleship training this week in another “M” village. This will be the first time for these local Catalyst leaders to lead a training. Several of the new discipleship groups that have been meeting in other villages will be coming. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to fall upon this group and raise up more “M” workers to reach the “M” people this generation.

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