Introduction / History Oral tradition states that the Wanda people originally came from the Mwanga tribe of Zambia. A new chief set himself up in the valley south of Lake Rukwa and gathered followers. They became known as the Wanda, "the people who cut grass."
The Wanda live in a relatively small area far away from any main roads. There is a large river that cuts through the area and serves as the boundary between the Mbeya and Rukwa regions. During the rains, the river is impassable for vehicles due to rising water levels and the addition of crocodiles. A foot bridge joins two of the larger villages together.
The Wanda live in houses of fired mud brick with thatched roofs. Their dress is mainly western, although many women wear colorful African wraps called kangas.
Primarily the Wanda are agriculturalists growing millet, maize, rice, peanuts, and potatoes. Some also raise livestock, including cattle, goats, pigs, and chickens. Most of the Wanda people claim affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church. There are also other churches in the area, such as Moravian, Evangelical Assemblies of God, Evangelical Lutheran, and Grace Churches; however, few of the members are Wanda. It was reported that there are no Wanda Muslims. The traditional religion is reported to still exist, but it is not openly practiced.