Wanji in Tanzania

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People Name: Wanji
Country: Tanzania
10/40 Window: No
Population: 53,000
World Population: 53,000
Primary Language: Vwanji
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 35.00 %
Evangelicals: 12.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Bantu, Central-Tanzania
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Wanji people live in southwest Tanzania in the southern mountains of Iringa Region between the Bena, Sangu and Kinga people. Some live on the Usangu wetlands near the village of Mahongale. Some Wanji may attend the secondary (high school) at Makambako, a trading center in the area. There is a corn (maize) grinding mill, waddle and eucalyptus tree project and farm for maize (corn) at this former Lutheran school. Also a local brick factory/kiln.

One of the early Gospel messengers was Sam John Nierendra. One of the people who became a Christian was Samwaili from the mountain village of Msalimwani. The women of this village still wear the skins of animals to ward off the biting cold of mountain mornings. They worship spirits of their ancestors and fear the leopard that stalks at night.

Samwaili attended the Tanzania Bible School where he studied hard. After graduating he traveled the Usangu plains telling folks about his Savior and established other churches. ( 2001 report by David Caskey who lived in Wanji area) In time some of the Bible was provided for this group, 1979-1985. This language needs to be reassessed to see why the translation work stopped and if more translation work is needed for this isolated group. Some appear to have moved down out of the mountains on to the Usangu plains. Their interaction with other larger near by groups will need to be checked to see if they can now use any of these groups' Scriptures. Lutherans, Anglicans and Presbyterians work in this general area as well as perhaps some RC from Njombe.

Text Source:   Anonymous