The Kalanga Bible Translation Project of Zimbabwe began in 2016, and has completed almost half of the New Testament. The translation team works in the city of Bulawayo, though community testing and reviews usually are carried out in other areas to ensure a broad spectrum of people giving inputs about the readability of Scripture in Kalanga.
In the past, the Kalanga people have relied on other versions of the Bible in languages that they do not understand as well as their heart language. They cannot wait to have the Word of God in Kalanga! They believe that having the Word of God in their language will bring transformation and improvement in the social, physical, mental, financial and spiritual well-being of the people, and also it can be a source to preserve the Kalanga language, customs and traditions.
The Kalanga Bible Translation Project to the Kalanga speaking groups generated great excitement and joy when they received the printed draft copies of some New Testament books. One local Kalanga man, Elias, expressed his excitement by telling his story:
‘I was born in 1932 on July 13th. I was born here in Dombodema, Zimbabwe.
‘When we grew up here in Dombodema, there was a Bible in Kalanga which was called “Ndebo Mbuya.” We read that Bible when we were growing up. Then it was destroyed because of the war that happened between the white people and the black people. The black people thought that the missionaries had used the Bible to colonize them, and they never wanted to use anything associated with white people again—including the Kalanga Bible. So we burned all the Bibles and didn’t have them anymore.
‘But now, we are happy when we see our children want to have a Bible in their own language. Our own people are translating the Bible, so no one will think that the white people are using it to control us again.
‘We used to sing a Kalanga song which said, “This is our home of Dombodema/We are here in the land of Dombodema/The land which is similar to the land of Canaan/A land that flows with milk and honey.” This song was written in Kalanga; however, today only we, the elderly, sing it. In the future no one will remember this song anymore. May God help the Kalanga people hear the Word of God that they will believe. Let the Ndebo Mbuya [New Testament] be translated!’
When a people group historically experience oppression at the hands of another group, often they react by destroying everything associated with the oppression. Praise God, that he is able to redeem history and show that his Word is for all people—and he will not use it to oppress anyone. Instead, his Word brings freedom and redemption!
Subscribe to the illumiNations Newsletter