The Rangi of Tanzania

Population: 463,000

Background and Location:  The Rangi live in Kondoa district in Tanzania, between Dodoma and Arusha.

History:   Tradition says the Rangi travelled south through Ethiopia and Kenya. As water diviners, they would find a water source, dig a hole, put a gourd in it and leave. The following dry season they returned to it and if it was full of water, they would settle there. One day some young men went hunting and were left behind by the others, so they stayed there and became the related Mbugwe tribe. The others continued south and settled as the Rangi in a place where the “water didn’t go out”, or Haubi. This is considered their place of origin. The Rangi in Kondoa converted to Islam in the early 1900s, but those in the Haubi valley resisted. In 1937 they decided to become Catholic and built a cathedral.  7% of Rangi consider themselves Catholic.

Culture:  A matriarchal society, the Rangi live in villages and perceive their identity through their communities. They are farmers, growing cash crops such as maize, sunflower seeds, millet and other vegetables. Their income as vendors in the market, however, is unreliable because of their dependence on rain. Their wealth is tied up in their grain, and in their cattle. The Rangi also are known for the clay pots they make.

Religion:   Traditional religious beliefs have been incorporated into both the Islam and Catholicism of the Rangi. They believe in a supernatural world that affects every activity, and sacrifices, sorcery and witchcraft are common. In the Haubi highlands there is a sacred forest where traditionally initiation ceremonies took place; the Rangi greatly fear the place and avoid and protect it. They have often been mistrusted by others because of their reputation as being active with evil spirits and witchcraft, although these days more and more non-Rangi live in Kondoa and evidence of modernization is seen in TVs, phones, hospitals etc. Since 2000 the number of evangelical believers is growing. At one point the church was burned down, but it was rebuilt, along with a medical clinic, and school dorms. Baptisms are taking place, and more workers are needed. A translation project is progressing well.

Learn more about the Rangi at Joshua Project or about Tanzania at Operation World.

Latest Prayer Updates:

Listening

Mzee M was given an audio Bible when he was sick, so he could listen to the New Testament in Rangi or Swahili. He has been listening and discussing with his family and falls asleep with it playing. Praise God he has recently seen the love of Jesus through local Christian neighbors through their many acts of generosity while he has been sick.

Conversations

Mzee J and Gideon had a great conversation discussing the second coming of Jesus. Gideon saw willingness to listen to what he was saying about Jesus and the Bible. Mzee J along with a few other men sat listening to Gideon and some even said, ‘What you’re saying makes sense’. Mzee J asked for more conversations in the future to discuss Jesus. Pray for these future interactions with Gideon to be impactful and life-giving for Mzee.

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