The Mwani people in Mozambique
The Mwani are fishermen, living along the coast of Northern Mozambique. Mwani means “beach” and their lives revolve around the shore. The Mwani are an isolated people group who trace their ancestry to the island of Ibo, near the coast of Mozambique. Ibo was the scene of struggle between Arabs and Portuguese, resulting in much destruction.
As Arab Muslims swept across along the coast of East Africa in search of slaves, many people groups converted to Islam to avoid being taken as slaves. Arab Muslims could not take other Muslims as slaves, so there was a strong incentive to “convert.” Such people included the Mwani of Mozambique.
The Mwani follow a version of Islam and mix Islamic beliefs with animistic traditions. Out of the 180,000 Mwani, only a handful believe in Jesus and those that do are rejected by their own families and their people.
Children go to Madrassa or Islamic schools, and although they memorize and can recite the Koran, they don’t understand its meaning. Most Mwani are illiterate in the KiMwani language and speak only a bit of Portuguese.
Gospel radio may be used to communicate the Gospel of grace to these people who are committed to working their way into God’s favour. Africa Inland Mission has been doing great work among the Mwani. They have a centre where they offer English lessons, sports, a pre-school program, and a library of Christian literature. Missionaries have not seen a deluge of Mwanis coming to Christ, but they are establishing relationships and bringing Jesus to the people.
“The fuel for fear is ignorance”. Many Mwani do not understand the details of their own belief. They blindly follow due to the fear instilled into them. Pray for wisdom in engaging them to think deeper into their own beliefs so that the contradictions can be brought to light and the truth of the gospel revealed.
- Pray for the few Mwani believers. Pray that qualified teachers and pastors will be sent to them to help them grow in the faith.
- Pray for the Mwanis to be receptive to efforts to reach them for Christ. Pray that they will embrace Christ as their own.