Safwa in Tanzania

Joshua Project has identified the Safwa only in Tanzania





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Safwa (pronounced SAH-fwah) people live in the highlands of southwestern Tanzania. The city of Mbeya is at the center of their traditional homeland, but most Safwa have fled urbanization. They are concentrated, instead, in villages around the city of Mbeya and extending out some 30 miles into the surrounding mountains and valleys. There are evangelical churches in Safwa villages, but many are filled with people of other groups who have moved into Safwa areas.

Many Safwa villages have little or no effective evangelical witness. It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of the Safwa people are devout followers of African traditional religion or no religion at all. Perhaps less than 3 percent are evangelical Christians. Alcoholism is a big problem among the Safwa, as it is among many people groups. As a whole, the Safwa are characterized as "resistant" to the gospel. A group is exploring the possibility of translating the Bible into their language. (From IMB Profile May, 2003.)

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Safwa
People Name in Country Safwa
Population in Tanzania 348,000
World Population 348,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Guruku, Songwe
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Bantu, Central-Tanzania
People Name General Safwa
Ethnic Code NAB57o
People ID 14634
Country Tanzania
Region East and Southern Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank 33  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Mbeya region, Mbeya Urban, Mbeya Rural, Chunya, and Mbozi districts, Mbeya and Poroto mountain ranges.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Enthologue Language Map

Languages & Dialects on file:  3  (up to 20 largest shown)
English Safwa Swahili
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
English Safwa
For Primary Language: Safwa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (2011-2012)
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
The Seed Company Translation Project Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 6.00 %)
29.00 %
Ethnic Religions
65.00 %
0.00 %
6.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
5.0 %
5.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
40.0 %
Roman Catholic
50.0 %
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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