OluDhimba people now access Bible in their language

28 Jan 2014 08:40am
RUACANA, 28 JAN (NAMPA) – The OvaDhimba-speaking Christian community finally have their own Bible in their own language.
The 617-page New Testament titled ‘Etestamende Epe’ was officially launched by the chairperson of the Bible Society of Namibia (BSN) Ferdinard Otto and Bishop Josephat Shangala of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) here on Saturday.
Only 3 000 copies of the OvaDhimba Bible have been printed, but more could be ordered.
“We sold 800 new OluDhimba New Testament Bibles during the launch this morning,” said Otto proudly.
He then thanked the various people who assisted to ensure that the OvaDhimba community receives the Bible in their own language.
“It is a singular honour for the Bible Society of Namibia and its partners to launch the very first publication of the New Testament in OluDhimba.
This book we hold in our hands today is testimony of the Bible Society achieving its mission of serving the Namibian nation who seek the possible, effective and meaningful distribution of the Holy Scriptures,” he noted.
Speaking at the same occasion, the coordinator of the OluDhimba Bible Translation Project, Pastor Johannes Tolu said it took courage, commitment and dedication to complete the translation of the New Testament in over 12 years from 1999.
“We used to translate up to two verses per day on some days due to the dynamics of the OluDhimba language which develops every day, and also due to lengthy debates to ensure that the right message was translated to the community from the Scriptures,” he noted.
Tolu thus appealed to different church leaders and organisations which assist faith-based organisations to source funds to further translate the Old Testament in OluDhimba so that the community could have a complete Bible.
He said since the early 1950s when Christianity was introduced to the OvaDhimba community, they have been reading the Bible and ‘learning the word of God’ through the Oshiwambo and OtjiHerero languages.
Research conducted in 1995 established that the OvaDhimba community speaks a different language, which led to plans for the translation of the Bible.
According to Tolu, research also revealed that the OvaDhimba community in Namibia consists of between 12 000 and 15 000 members.
Another pastor who was also at the launch, Tjikangona Kasengo, told Nampa that he was very happy that he no longer has to do double work - first having to study and then translate - before giving the actual message to his fellow OvaDhimba community members.
Kasengo added that the other thing which remains to be done is for the Government to start developing OluDhimba language manuals for children to be taught in their language.
The OvaDhimba community furthermore feels that radio programmes or channels should be availed to them, given that their language is now written, and is different from other languages.
Currently, radio announcements for the OvaDhimba community are done through using the Oshiwambo and OtjiHerero language services of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).
At least 400 people witnessed the launch, including the Governor of the Kunene Region, Josua //Hoebeb; the Chief of the Uukologadhi Traditional Authority, Daniel Shoya; as well as different bishops, reverends and pastors from all over Namibia as well as The Netherlands, Finland and America.
The OluDhimba New Testament Bible is being sold at N.dollars 55 each by the BSN.