1890 to 1968
Africa Inland Church
Petro Sono, a Msukuma by tribe, of the clan of Batundu, was born in Tanzania, the son of Sono. His mother's name was Kanana at Ibanda-Mwanza. He was born during a famine which came to be known as Nzala ya Masanzo (basket famine). His nickname was Ng'wananogu (obedient/easy child).
He suffered from small pox in his childhood. His desire in life was to become a medicine man. He was educated up to the fourth grade from 1920-1924. He was fluent in the following languages: Kiswahili, Kijita, Kizinza, Kikerewe, Kisukuma, and Kihaya.
His wife's name was Nyang'wila, later called Mariam after her baptism. They had ten children: Samson Nhaluke, Salome Sumilwa, Tizira Shitiho, Esther Ibombolwa, Elias Nhegele, Elisha Lugiko, Joel Hamuli, Lois Njile, John Malongo, and David Mashimba. Their grandchildren's names were: Mariam Samson, Aaron Samson, Charles Elias, Mary Elias, Barnabas Elisha, Margaret Elisha, Adela Jeremiah, Gerald Ibambasi, Madaraka Ngoye, and Jackson John.
He accepted Christ in 1920 at an AICT church in Nyegezi-Mwanza. He felt called to ministry in 1924 and in 1925 was ordained a church elder. Each time he moved was for the purpose of planting a church. He built churches and was liked by many because of his successful work. He did a lot of counseling on different issues. In 1926, he became an un-ordained pastor and was sent to Hamuyebe-Ukerewe in January 1931. He did not stay there for long, but returned to his family at Bujora-Sukuma, Mwanza. One of the worst experiences in his life was when his house burned down in 1945, destroying everything including his church-related papers.
Many of the churches he planted and built are still functioning. He planted AICT churches in Nansio and in Bujora where he served as a pastor from 1921 to 1939. He also started a church in Bugando-Nkome where he worked from 1939 to 1943, and one in Itabagumba where he served as pastor from 1943 to 1973.
In 1955, he was ordained a pastor. The only mention of him is in "A Short History of the AICT Church" booklet. On page 18, he is said to have stayed at Hamuyebe for a while. On page 27, it says he was elected as one of the marriage board members, and on page 28, it is mentioned that he went to Hamuyebe.
Bela B. Kalumbete
Muhtasari wa Historia ya Kanisa, (A Short History of the AICT Church), edited by Bishop Samwel Magessa (Mwanza: Inland Publishers, 1977), 18, 27-28.
Lyamba, Ruth, interview by the author, November 2000, Mwanza.
Munyeti, Yohana, interview by the author, November 2000, Itabagumba-Kazunzu.
Ng'wananogu, Rev. Canon Joel, interview by the author, November 2000, St. Peter's Church, Itabagumba.
Nyagwaswa, Leah, interview by the author, November 2000, Sengerema, Mwanza.
This article was researched and written by Bela B. Kalumbete, a Project Luke Fellow associated with the Africa Inland Church, Tanzania.