Andrea Mwaka

Andrea Mawaka was a pastor and worker with the Church Missionary Society (the mission society of the Anglican church). He was one of the first native leaders to rise to prominent positions in the Anglican church in Tanganyika. It was said the he was "a mine of wisdom, trusted by his fellow men and consulted on all sorts of matters," that he had "a great sense of humour, and a wonderful power of applying Christians ideals to African conditions when appealed to for his judgement."

He was born to chief Mugube Makanyaga around 1871. Andrea was not the name given to him at birth, but it is the name he took when he was baptized. It is uncertain what his birth name was. 1Although some missionary documents say he was a freed slave, he was never actually in slavery, though he was kidnapped by another chief when he was a boy.

Early Work with the CMS

He went to school in Chamuhaw i worked as a domestic assistant for Henry and Henrietta Cole beginning in 1882. Part of his responsibility was taking care of the Coles' children. He went twice with Henry Cole to England (first in July 1883 and again in December 1889).

Around 1892 he started teaching with the CMS, and he continued doing ministerial work with them until he died. Most of this work was done in Chamuhawi. In 1896, he went with his first wife Debora to Frere Town divinity school in Kenya to better prepare for ministry.

Even though he had not yet been ordained, he worked as a "quasi-pastor" in several locations, including covering for missionaries when they were on furlough. At some point in time, he taught Swahili 2to the Irish missionary and Bible translator George Pilkington .


He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Heywood in 1921. Later, Mwaka's son said that he thought that he was chosen to be a deacon because, "he had been a convert for a long time, and he attended courses at Kongwa several times.… Maybe his character as well. Of being committed, and loving the work." Heywood did the ordination without first consulting with his superiors, and on November 8th, 1921 they made objection to to him ordaining Africans on his own. 3They objected mostly because of financial concerns of how the new deacon's stipend would be paid. The objections seemed to be placated when it was made known that native councils were going to take care of the stipend. After further training, Mwaka was ordained a priest in March 1924.

In 1933, Andrea Mwaka became one of the first four canons (senior pastors advising the bishop on general church work in a diocese) of the diocese of Central Tanganyika, which had been established in 1927.

Death and Memory

In July 1935 he became ill with fever and died on September 1st.

In 1937 "the diocesan council established a memorial fund for Andrea Mwaka, and resolved that a pastor’s house be built at a proposed Christian village in Dodoma town in his memory." Also, an international primary school was named “Canon Andrea Mwaka Primary School.” Raphael Akiri notes the significance of this:

That such an honour would be bestowed on an African during the colonial era when many church buildings (whether used for worship or other purposes) were dedicated to the Europeans and Australians, or took their names from the Bible, was quite extraordinary and remains one of the visible symbols of his legacy to the church in Ugogo. The modern Diocese of Central Tanzania also decided (in the mid-1990s) to extend the honour by dedicating a secondary school in the city of Dodoma to Andrea Mwaka.