Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Muhando, Daudi

Anglican Communion (Church Missionary Society)

Like Haruni Mbega, Muhando was one of the few first fruits of Unguu–a place where Islamic resistance was fierce, and little progress was made in mission work. Muhando was born in April 15, 1895 [1] in Bokwa, Unguu. His Muslim parents were Maligwa Makafu and Salome Chega. [2] He too, like Mbega, served as a catechist at Nguyami and later at Idibo in 1924 where he joined Thomas Mlahagwa, the father of Isaka Mlahagwa (one of the informants interviewed for this study). He was known for his preaching skills. Though both he and Mbega were originally from Unguu, he took more interest in communicating the Christian message to Muslims perhaps than Mbega:

At times, he used to say, “Let me read the Quran to you.” …He was very steady in arguing about Islam. He would not lose [an argument] to a Muslim. …In fact, even today, all his relatives are Muslims.

With such a Muslim background, his decision to become a Christian should be viewed as a major step of courage and faith. It is possible that he was one of the young people who suffered isolation from family and relatives in Bokwa for associating themselves with the CMS mission. But as the oral source quoted above suggests, his religious background later became one of his strongest assets in the evangelization of the Muslims. As a teacher, he served at Berega, Mkundi and Nguyami, among other places. [3]

Muhando received no formal education beyond the basic elementary schooling received by many in Ugogo and Ukaguru. Yet he published books and pamphlets in which he sought to adapt traditional Kaguru and Nguu stories for Christian teaching. Some local Christians read these. [4] In 1962 he published Hadithi za Kiafrika Zimekuwa za Kikristo (the title in Kiswahili may be translated in English as African Stories Turned Christian). His material has not only been used by some local Christians of his generation. [5] Western scholars such as T. O. Beidelman have done the same. [6]

It is no surprise that Stanley King regarded Muhando as a man of exceptional qualities, and wrote of him,

He not only possesses considerable intelligence, sound judgement, tact in dealing with people, and the manners of a gentleman, but more important still, he shows increasing spiritual understanding in the things of God and is a keen soul winner. [7]

Towards the end of 1928, Daudi Muhando was chosen quasi-pastor of Idibo in Berega district. [8] He was ordained deacon on 1 November 1929 at Berega-the third pastor to be ordained in the CMS mission in Ugogo and Ukaguru. His ordination, like that of Mbega’s, was widely appreciated at Berega, “for it meant the recognition of the fact that Africans were needed to minister in the African Church….” [9] His pastoral contributions must have been appreciated by the Kaguru and Nguu Christians who for so long had to depend on one priest:

Originally, there were only two [stations in the] diocese [of Morogoro,] Berega and Mamboya. He [Haruni Mbega] was at Mamboya and was overseeing all the churches in the Kaguru mountains. The European pastor who was based here at Berega was responsible for work on this side that extended up to Msagalu and Songe. Then they appointed a third man, and that was Daudi Muhando. There was no other priest around here. He was assisting the one who was here because this area was very huge. They used to reach different directions. [10]

After serving as an ordained deacon, Muhando was made priest on 16 March 1932 at Dodoma.[11] A few more remarks about his ministry are based on the period after 1933. After his ordination to the priesthood, he served at Idibo until 1934 before moving to Kilosa where he worked until 1944. [12] In commending the work done by Daudi Muhando at Kilosa, Ralph Banks, (a CMS missionary) who was stationed at Berega wrote in 1937:

The Rev. Daudi Muhando has shown a wonderful spirit and is ready to do anything and go anywhere. He has made a great difference to the work at Kilosa where he has been sent. He is very reliable, with plenty of initiative, and his ability as an organiser is outstanding. …he gets on splendidly with all the tribes. [13]

Muhando’s ministry extended beyond the borders of Tanzania, and Africa. He served in the Middle East as chaplain during the Second World War where he took classes for baptism and confirmation for the Tanzania soldiers serving in the British army. Some of the material Muhando used was from his own books, particularly the one on worship, which unfortunately is no longer in print. [14] Bishop George Chambers who was with him at the time wrote:

[He] is most respected by the permanent staff. A few days ago I gave a lecture on the East African background to some 25 Officers and British N.C.O’s….I took Daudi down to let them hear the beauty of real Swahili after a boy from Uganda had spoken to them in trade “lingua franca” which most Europeans use outside Tanganyika. Daudi, before leaving the tent, asked me to translate, and expressed to them the hope of God that would bless them in their work and give them happiness…. As he left the tent the whole twenty-five rose out of respect. You, possibly knowing Daudi, would expect that. Such a man is a great ambassador for goodwill…. [15]

There is little doubt that Muhando’s mastery of Kiswahili language was a tool in his career as a writer. Apart from this, his other gifts as preacher and pastor remain a legacy. The nature of the influence of Muhando, and his skills as a writer, on Penina Muhando (one of his granddaughters) may not be fully appreciated until Penina herself is interviewed. She herself has become an accomplished academic and writer of many literature books used as standard textbooks in secondary schools and higher learning institutions in Tanzania [16] Muhando died on 1 November 1966, [17] aged 71.

Raphael Mwita Akiri


  1. Clergy Register, CMS Mission & Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika (DCT), 1913 onwards. The date on Muhando’s tombstone at Berega church cemetery is 1st November 1895. This gives a different day and month of Muhando’s birth, but since both sources give the same year, it should be regarded as a minor discrepancy.

  2. Loi Muhando, oral interview, 15/9/1997. Loi is the daughter of Daudi Muhando.

  3. Loi Muhando, oral interview, 15/9/1997.

4 Isaka Mlahagwa, oral interview, 14/9/1997.

  1. Ibid.

  2. Daudi Muhando, Hadithi za Kiafrika Zimekuwa za Kikristo, London: SPCK, 1962. His other works include two untitled and unpublished manuscripts on the Kaguru, located at Morogoro District Office and Kilosa District Office, Tanzania. These works are cited in T. O. Beidelman, The Matrilineal Peoples of Eastern Tanzania, London: International African Institute, 1967, 82; Beidelman, “Chiefship in Ukaguru,” 230.

  3. Chambers, Tanganyika’s New Day, 33.

  4. Minutes, Church Council of the Tanganyika Mission (CC), 3/11/1928, Mackay House Archives (Diocese of Central Tanganyika) (MH).

  5. CTDL, No. 8, February 1930, 12.

  6. Isaka Mlahagwa, oral interview, 14/9/1997.

  7. Clergy Register, CMS Mission & DCT, 1913 onwards; CTDL, No. 17, July 1932, 5.

  8. Loi Muhando, oral interview, 15/9/1997.

  9. CTDL, No. 37, October 1937, 16.

  10. CTDL, No. 66, June 1945, 5.

  11. CTDL, No. 56, January 1943, 5, 6.

  12. Penina Muhando is the current Chief Academic Officer of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
  13. The date is taken from an inscription on Muhando’s tombstone at the Berega church cemetery.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from “The Growth of Christianity in Ugogo and Ukaguru (Central Tanzania): A Socio-Historical Analysis of the Role of Indigenous Agents 1876-1933,” unpublished Ph.D. thesis (University of Edinburgh, 1999) by Raphael Mwita Akiri.