The Sandawe of Tanzania

Population: 40,000

Location: North central Tanzania

History: The Sandawe are descendants of the original San people who first populated Africa.

Culture: Traditionally hunter-gatherers, it is mainly the old men who remember this way of life. Few wild animals remain in the area. People still collect honey, but the hunting and tracking skills are being lost. Many have adopted some agricultural and herding practices of their neighbors, the the soil is poor. The Sandawe were forced by the government to settle in more permanent villages and now they live in small villages scattered through the area, with a few small ‘towns’ here and there. The area is hilly with woodland and scrub.
They are fond of singing, dancing, and telling stories which portray themselves as small animals who use their cunning intelligence to outwit more powerful enemies.

Religion: Animism. They worship the moon and stars and practice with craft. They fear spirits. There are some Catholic converts, but they mix Catholicism with animism. Islam is making inroads.

Latest Prayer Updates:

To Plant a Church in the Town called “Salvation.”

A new initiative to plant a church in Ukombozi (“salvation”) has begun among the Sandawe. The village seems to be a mix of Nyaturu and Sandawe peoples.Pray for unity for the team of believers, and for safety and good health as they share the gospel door to door. Pray for open hearts and that the Lord would save those He’s been drawing by His Holy Spirit. Pray also that the rains won’t hinder the outreach.


Saidi, an MMB for whom we prayed, went off the radar for over a year. He has resurfaced and is growing in Christ. A Tanzanian pastor who had mentored him but had lost touch, was telling his story in church one Sunday and that very afternoon, Saidi called him. The pastor has been able to resume mentoring him and Saidi is feeling supported by the church as well. There is no church in his local area so this is important for him to belong to a body of Believers.

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