Lake Tanganyika Field

By Ndigani Ngondo, and Mazara Edward Matucha

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Ndigani Ngondo

Mazara Edward Matucha

First Published: September 26, 2021

Lake Tanganyika Field is a part of Southern Tanzania Union Mission in the East-Central Africa Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Current Territory and Statistics

Lake Tanganyika Field is comprised of Katavi, Songwe, and Rukwa administrative regions of the United Republic of Tanzania. Its headquarters is at Sumbawanga in Rukwa. During its organization in 2020, it had the following districts and number of churches: Sumbawanga (1,431), (Mishamo (137), Usevya (1,420), Rukwa (647), Ndalambo (586), Kamsamba (634), Tunduma (2,157), Ileje (417), Kantalamba (1,551), Kakese (1,146), Laela (1,548), Matai, (1,967), Namanyere (1,258), and Kirando (425); making a total of 20,941 church members meeting in 178 churches and 191 companies.1

Organizational History

The Adventist work in the Lake Tanganyika Field is considered to have started officially in 1966 when Tanzania Union Mission sent an evangelist, Elison Bulenga, to sell books in this region. Initially he met with the brothers, Philipo Chambula and Alowizi Chambula, at Lake Rukwa while fishing, and he sold them The Great Controversy. He taught them about the Sabbath, and when the brothers returned home, they witnessed to their relatives. The first baptism took place in 1967 at Kalalasi village, at which time the Chambula brothers and their wives and two others were baptized. From this village the gospel spread to Msanzi, and in 1968 Claudio Masola, after reading The Great Controversy, was the seventh person to be baptized. The third baptism took place on December 9, 1972, when 20 people joined the church.2

Another evangelist, Pastor Mwaipopo, was sent to Tunduma and was received by the Nyamwanga Chief Mukoma, but the evangelist’s effort to convert him was not fruitful. The main obstacle was polygamy. The oldest son of the chief, Mr. Princewell, after reading The Great Controversy, also applied for baptism and in 1972 he was the first person in Momba district to join the church. After his conversion he persuaded his father to donate a piece of land of about one acre to the church. This land is where the Tunduma Central Church now stands. Mr Siyame shared the good news with his friend, Alfred Chisunga, who the following year was baptized along with his wife, Mary Chisunga.3

Adam Kipenya was sent to Mbozi in 1971 from Tukuyu. Through his hard work he was able to reach many people, and that year two families were converted and decided to join the church through baptism. These were Anyisile Kibona and Daniel Msukwa with his wife, Nangolongo. All these were from Mpemba village.4 In 1972 the Adventist message reached Katavi where Jaconia Oola was the pioneer evangelist. From there, work continued to grow at a slow pace.

Significant Events that Led to the Formation of Lake Tanganyika Field

In 1982 Tanganyika General Field was reorganized into two fields: East Tanzania Field with headquarters in Morogoro, and West Tanzania Field with headquarters in Mbeya. In 1990 West Tanzania Field was reorganized into two fields: South West Tanzania Field which retained the Mbeya headquarters, and West Tanzania Field with headquarters at Kigoma.

In 2007 South West Tanzania Field changed its name and status to become Southern Highlands Conference. It comprised the regions of Mbeya, Iringa, Rukwa, and Ruvuma.5 At the time of its establishment in 2007, Southern Highlands Conference had a membership of 27,541. In 2017 its territory covered the six geographical regions of Katavi, Rukwa, Songwe, Mbeya, Njombe, and Ruvuma. The area of this conference was 217,261 square kilometers, with a population of 7,220,779 people (2012 census). In 2017 the membership had grown to 56,641,6 a growth rate of 51.4 percent. This was a ratio of one member for each 128 people. With about 40 pastors, there was a ratio of one pastor for 1,416 members.

Despite improvements in the transportation and communication infrastructure in Tanzania, it was still difficult to reach all parts of the conference in a reasonable amount time, and travel was very expensive. It was also noted that a large number of members being served by one pastor hindered the effectiveness of the mission. In order to speed up the mission of the church in this wide territory, the Southern Tanzania Union Mission initiated the process of dividing the area into smaller sections. A study committee was appointed to reorganize the territory of Southern Highlands Conference. The members of that committee were Hubert Nziku, Aron Mwanandewe, Richard Khaniki, Ester Abayo, and Joshua Mwangi.

After careful study the committee recommended forming a new field that would include Katavi, Rukwa, and Songwe region. The Southern Tanzania Executive Committee voted to approve the formulation of the field,7 followed by another action to appoint three officers: Amon January Sikazwe (chair), Ndigani Ngondo (executive secretary), and Aaron Mwanandewe (treasurer).8

In a meeting on February 11-13, 2020, in Sumbawanga, at the Jangwani Central Church, the following departmental directors were elected: Pastor E. Kamwela (personal ministries, Sabbath School, women’s ministries, AMR, and special needs); Pastor H. Kikiwa (stewardship and communication departments); Pastor A. Kahigiro, (youth ministries, music ministries, children’s ministries); and Pastor G. Nashumba (education, literature department, Global Mission).

Executive Officers

President, A. J. Sikazwe (2019-present)

Executive Secretary, N. Ngondo (2019-present)

Treasurer: A. Mwanandewe (2019-present)

Sources

Lake Tanganyika Field Statistics report, 4th quarter, 2019.

Southern Tanzania Union Mission Field Evaluation Committee Report, 2018. Southern Tanzania Union Mission archives, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Southern Tanzania Union Mission Executive Committee Minutes, 2007, 2019. Southern Tanzania Union Mission archives, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Notes

  1. Lake Tanganyika Field 4th Quarter Statistical Report, 2019.

  2. Claudio Masola, telephone interview by author, February 16, 2020.

  3. Princelwell Siyame, telephone interview by author, February 18, 2020.

  4. Anyagwile Mwakasege, telephone interview by author, February 19, 2020.

  5. Southern Tanzania Union Mission Executive Committee Minutes number 231/2007.

  6. Southern Tanzania Union Mission, Field Evaluation Committee report, 2018.

  7. Southern Tanzania Union Mission Executive Committee, Minute number 563/2019.

  8. Southern Tanzania Union Mission Executive Committee, Minute number 113/2019.

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Ngondo, Ndigani, Mazara Edward Matucha. "Lake Tanganyika Field." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 26, 2021. Accessed May 21, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DI5L.

Ngondo, Ndigani, Mazara Edward Matucha. "Lake Tanganyika Field." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 26, 2021. Date of access May 21, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DI5L.

Ngondo, Ndigani, Mazara Edward Matucha (2021, September 26). Lake Tanganyika Field. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 21, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DI5L.