Swahili, Zanzibari of Tanzania

About 16 miles off the shores of Tanzania and halfway up the Swahili coast is the island of Zanzibar. Home to nearly 1 million Swahili-speaking Zanzibaris, the island is famous as an exotic location for tourists. Thousands of people flock to Zanzibar yearly to enjoy the beaches, visit spice farms, wander the narrow streets of Stone Town, and explore the many historic sites on the island.

Today, while there is great revival in much of East Africa, the coastal areas and nearby islands remain bastions of Islam, and the church has made very little progress.

Engagement — What’s Happening Now

There are only a few Christians among the Zanzibari, who hold tightly to their Islamic faith.

Partnership — Move Beyond

— On the island of Zanzibar, Islam is very syncretistic. Spiritism and witchcraft have been integrated into the culture. Pray that the light of Christ would dawn on those who live in fear of being cursed.

— Radicals are attempting to break Zanzibar’s ties with Tanzania and make the island an independent Muslim nation. Pray for the small number of Zanzibari Christians who are living in political turmoil.

Entrepreneurs: Allow the Spirit to speak to you about how you might pioneer a work to reach Zanzibaris.

Readers, Writers, Speakers: The Zanzibari of Tanzania, as well as more than 15 million others in nearby East African nations, speak Swahili.

Problem Solvers: If a Zanzibari decides to follow Christ, he or she pays an immediate price with the community. Zanzibaris who become Christians risk being disinherited and forced to leave their home to fend for themselves. It is not uncommon for a spouse to seek a divorce from a new believer.

Interested in more opportunities?

bforsmanSwahili, Zanzibari of Tanzania