The Rangi of Tanzania
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.
Latest Prayer Updates:
Pray for a faithful Rangi evangelist. His father died a couple of weeks ago. His wife and six year old son are now sick. Pray for the Lord to heal his family. Praise the Lord that in the last days before his father passed away, he gave testimony that Jesus was His Savior and Lord. Pray for the evangelist to be encouraged as he works faithfully to share the gospel with the people in his town who are 95% Muslim. May the Lord strengthen and encourage him and his family.
A team of missionaries has begun the process of leaving their home countries to come live among the Rangi and share Christ’s love, but immigration difficulties are holding them back. Please pray that the Lord Jesus will put before them an “open door that no one can shut.”