Introduction / History The Bena people of Tanzania are a large Bantu group living in southwestern Tanzania in Iringa Region, Njombe District. Some of their major towns are Ilembula where there is a large Lutheran hospital and Uwemba where there is a strong Roman Catholic church.
What are their lives like? The Bena are a patrilineal society with a heavy interest in traditional lay care. There is a strong cultural value on children as a link to the generations. The more the better. Some practice polygyny. As gifted farmers they have incorporated new skills with traditional values to produce Irish potatoes and maize (corn) their main crops. They also grow wheat, peas, beans, pyrethrum (for mosquito coils) and coffee and timber for cash crops.
What are their beliefs? They had early contact with both German Lutherans and Roman Catholics. A New Testament was produced in 1920 and the early missionaries hoped it would be used for other nearby groups. Old beliefs are still strong and there is a possible need for an updated New Testament.