location map needed (pending new for all)

Population: 115,000 (including the Ruri)

Location: Mara Region (northwestern TZ)

Altitude: 1200 metres (3900 feet)

Religion: Christian, Traditional Religion

Published Scripture: Jonah, Luke

Alternate names:  Kikwaya, Ekikwaya

Browse our stories from the Kwaya project

If you’re in the Mara Region of Tanzania area and want to find some good fish, the Kwaya area is a good place to be.  The Kwaya thrive on their ability to pull food and income from Lake Victoria, which covers a large portion of the border for the language area.

Location within Country:  The Kwaya language area borders the eastern edge of Lake Victoria in the northwest corner of Tanzania and includes Musoma, the main town of Mara Region.

Cultural Information:  In the past, Kwaya people were encouraged to only marry other Kwaya. But, the mentality has changed.  A mentality of unity in the country was encouraged by President Nyerere while he held office in the mid-1900’s.  This impacted most language groups, and Kwaya was one of them.  They have also seen a lot of change due to the influx of various people into the Musoma area, resulting in significant diversity of languages and ways of life. 

Economic Status:  Many Kwaya men support their families by fishing.  Most women stay closer to home where they care for their families and often spend considerable time and energy working small farm plots. 

Language Group Information:  People who speak the Ruri dialect will often mention their close relationship with both the Kwaya and Jita language groups, and the area where they live lies in between.  However, the Kwaya language is a bit more similar.  The purely Kwaya population is estimated at 70,000, but if you add in the estimated 45,000 who claim to be Ruri, the number easily exceeds 100,000.

Browse our stories from the Kwaya project