A project update from 2014

In our Autumn 2014 magazine, almost 10 years ago, we introduced a translation project run by the Bible Society of Botswana in partnership with the Lutheran Bible Translators. The Bible has never been available in Shekgalagari, the language of the Bakgalagari people who mainly live in the Kgalagari desert. Now, 14 years after work began, the New Testament is finally 100% complete and is fully available in Shekgalagari, all thanks to the support of people like you who gave to this vital work.

This project has been in the works a long time, and the reason for that is because the Shekgalagari language was largely unwritten, so the translation team were starting from scratch. This process required mother-tongue speakers of Shekgalagari to be trained in Bible translation and to study the Scriptures before a first draft was even able to be produced. The draft was then passed to Shekgalagari speakers around the country to ensure it was understandable and acceptable to all.

However, the translation process is not simply about putting words on a page. The team needed to know the people who would be using the text and understand their culture and traditions. The team also had to translate it in such a way that an oral audience would be able to understand it because of the low literacy levels of the Bakgalagari people. All of this had to be completed before it could finally be checked against the UBS translation requirements.

Although this project has taken 14 years to complete, the benefit of this translation will far exceed the time spent carrying out this work. The Bakgalagari people can now physically hold God’s Word, and with it, they can begin to learn about, appreciate, and build personal relationships with the living God who loves them just the same as he loves us.

Prayer Points:

  • Give thanks to God for the completion of the New Testament translation into Shekgalagari.
  • Ask God to bless those who will receive their own copy of this translation for the first time, in their heart language. Pray that it will be life-giving.
  • Give thanks that we in Northern Ireland have been able to support this project and enable God’s Word to be shared with the Bakgalagari people.
Members of the community attending the launch celebration.