Introduction / History The Pangwa people live along the northeast shore of Lake Malawi in southwest Tanzania. Early German missionaries came to this area in the early 1900s. Because of the help of these missionaries, there has been a long interest in education and development across the Pangwa area which centers on the Ludewa District of Iringa Region. There appears to have been a lot of resistance to mission efforts in the beginning and the missionaries withdrew from Jakobi to Lupembe where a mission hospital was established (Lupembe may not be in the Pangwa homeland). Lupembe appears to have become a major center in this area because of the hospital and a green tea estate run by a local farmers association. Beans are grown in the area too and the Lutherans have a solar project there.
The Presbyterians are also active in introducing modern farm equipment and practices as are the Roman Catholics with their school at Madunda. In spite of the high level of outside help and influences, the Pangwa people still hold to strong traditional views. There are active cases of HIV-AIDS in the area promoted in part by the traditional belief that evil must be sucked out of a person by a traditional doctor. This blood transmission facilitates the spread of AIDS as well as the traditional belief that unmarried teenagers should sleep together to discover a partner.
They have an interesting story about the origin of the earth with the concept of "The Word" and elements of early Genesis 1. This concept and their interest in water may be bridges to help this group understand the Gospel. This group needs a language assessment to help determine the best way to provide for their spiritual needs. Can they adequately comprehend Swahili, Bena, English or German or do they need literature in Pangwa? A German linguist, Hans Stirnimann, has studied Pangwa and wrote articles in 1983. Mukasa Mwajombe has written a definitive work on the Pangwa concept of "Evil".