Introduction / History The Sumbwa people are scattered over a wide area in northern Tanzania. According to tradition, they originated in the far western part of the country, and many, many years ago they moved into the north central area of the country, where they conquered the local people and set up their own chiefdom. This area is considered the heart of the Sumbwa lands, although many Sumbwa live quite far from there.
Originally, the Sumbwa were hunters, but now they are mainly farmers. Cotton is their main cash crop, and they grow maize and cassava for food. Bee-keeping for the purpose of gathering honey is also one of their sources of food and income. Among the Sumbwa people there are Christians, Muslims, and followers of the traditional religion. A large percentage of the Sumbwa claim affiliation with the Roman Catholic church, which has been in the area for over one-hundred years. There are other Christian denominations in the area, but most have arrived only within the past ten years or so. Many Sumbwa still follow the traditional religion, while few of the Sumbwa are followers of Islam.