Sukuma in Tanzania

Joshua Project has identified the Sukuma only in Tanzania





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Sukuma people comprise some 7 million people and are the largest people group in Tanzania. The Sukuma live in the northwestern part of the country between Lake Victoria and Lake Rukwa. Their major town center is Mwanza, which is situated on the shore of Lake Victoria. Sukumaland consists mainly of dry savannah or semi-desert and the climate is subtropical. The Sukuma are closely related to the neighboring Nyamwezi people group. About 80% of the people still live in rural areas, although more and more people are moving into the major cities.

Most of the Sukuma people are subsistence farmers and cattle herders with sweet potatoes and millet as staple food. The main cash crops are cotton and tobacco. The majority of Sukuma people practice and are deeply rooted in animism. Every area of life, from naming their children to planting crops, is affected by their belief in the ancestral and other spirits. The Sukuma are presently about 42% Christian, and that number has been growing significantly in recent years. However, there is still a lot of syncretism with animism in Christianity. The Sukuma people in rural areas are especially poor, but they are able to meet their own subsistence needs. However, when drought comes to this dry savannah region, as it has recently, this area is hit especially hard.

The Sukuma also have a spiritual need – to be freed from the bondage and fear of spirit beings. Much of a Sukuma animist's life and resources is spent for the ancestor spirits and other spirit beings, because they are deathly afraid of them. Further economic detriment is caused to the society due to the view that a person must be using witchcraft if s/he is wealthier than those around him/her, so the successful move away.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  

People Name General Sukuma
People Name in Country Sukuma
Population in Tanzania 7,283,000
World Population 7,283,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Sakuma
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Bantu, Central-Tanzania
People Name General Sukuma
Ethnic Code NAB57o
People ID 15112
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 Northwest, between Lake Victoria and Lake Rukwa, Shinyanga to Serengeti Plain (Kiya); also Mwanza (Gwe). Few in cities; 88% in the traditional area.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Enthologue Language Map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Sukuma (7,283,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Sukuma 7,283,000
For Primary Language: Sukuma

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1895-1995)
New Testament Yes   (1925-2005)
Complete Bible Yes   (1960)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Sukuma Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 12.00 %)
42.00 %
Ethnic Religions
43.00 %
0.00 %
15.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
10.0 %
5.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
25.0 %
Roman Catholic
60.0 %
Photo Source: Brian Christopher Magill  
Profile Source: Anonymous  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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