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Aug 31, 2009

The Jita

Written by Andrew S.

The Jita Translation Team:

Magesa Magesa K.
Neema Neema T.

The Jita:The Jita are a relatively large group of people in the Mara Region of Tanzania and are known as fishermen. 

A Jita translation of the New Testament was completed in the mid-1900s, but it was difficult for many to read and is now out of print. 

jitaLake Victoria

Location within Country:  The Jita live in the southwestern part of the Mara Region in an area that occupies approximately 1200 square kilometers. 

Geography and Climate:  The Jita language area is surrounded on three sides by the eastern waters of Lake Victoria.  Rains are seasonal. 

Altitude:  3720 feet (1135m)

Population:  205,000

Cultural Information:  The Jita name comes from a mountain where people gathered to sacrifice to gods that were there.  No ordinary person is allowed to climb this mountain because it is sacred.

The Jita are one of the largest groups in the Mara Region.  In the past, they often fought with other groups in the region, and they often emerged victorious.  The result of these clashes in the past, along with the fact that their population is relatively large, is that there exists a general feeling that the Jita people are strong and important.

Music is a big part of the lives of Jita people. 

Economic Status:  Many Jita villages are located in close proximity to Lake Victoria, thus many Jita men are fishermen and depend on the lake for sustenance.  Farming is also important.  Common staples are corn, sorghum, and millet.  Cotton is grown as a cash crop.

jita_men_readingReading the books of Ruth and Luke in the Jita language
Religion:  There are many Christians in the Jita language area, in large part because of extensive outreach over the past few decades.  In terms of Christian denominations, the largest is Seventh Day Adventist, followed by Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Mennonite.  There are also Anglican churches and a wide variety of Pentecostal denominations. Though there are many Jita who claim to be Christians, it is quite common to also follow some of the traditional religious practices, such as worship and sacrifices for ancestral spirits and visiting witch doctors to respond to various life problems.

There are a small number of Muslims.

Alternate language names:  Kijita, Echijita

Published Scripture:  Luke, Ruth, Jonah

Recordings:  Ruth

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