Bible Society seeks shs5bn to complete Rufumbira Bible translation

An official from the Bible Society of Uganda displaying a dummy of the New Testament in Rufumbira. (Photo/NewVision)

A 5 billion shilling project is being vigorously pursued by the Bible Society of Uganda (BSU) in order to complete the translation of the entire Bible into the Rufumbira language.

The Rufumbira Bible translation project was launched three years ago to cater for the Muhabura Diocese in Kisoro district which speaks Rufumbira, which the society has successfully translated the New Testament into and only the Old Testament remaining.

According to the BSU acting Secretary General, Mr Peter Lumbuye Serumaga, the total amount needed to finish the Old Testament translation and produce a complete Rufumbira Bible is over 5 billion Shillings, but he did not disclose the precise amount invested up to this point.

In addition, the organisation is actively engaged in constructing a Bible, which should be finished in 5-8 years, for the Batwa, a minority ethnic community in Uganda.

The Muhabura Diocese’s bishop, Rt. Rev. Godfrey Mbitse highlighted the importance of this achievement.
They had previously been preaching the gospel from Bibles written in Kinyarwanda, which had vocabulary distinct from Rufumbira.

It is anticipated that this achievement will inspire further writers to release works in the Rufumbira language, supporting the linguistic and cultural advancement of the Kitumbura-speaking community.

The Bible translation project in Rufumbira is part of a long tradition of translating the Holy Scriptures into many languages, a process that stretches back to early Christianity. The translation of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is expected to be a huge boost for the southwestern Uganda diocese.

So far, the Bible Society of Uganda has translated the Holy Bible into only 20 of the 43 languages that are spoken in the country. This means more than half of the languages are not fully translated.

The Luganda Bible was the first translation to be completed in Uganda in 1887, and the New Testament was added in 1893.

An entire Bible; fondly referred to as the “Biscuit Bible” was released in 1896. The Holy Scriptures were eventually translated into regional languages as Christianity spread throughout Uganda.

About Bafumbira 

The Bafumbira are a Bantu ethnic group primarily from Kisoro District in South Western Uganda, although their presence can be found throughout the country.  

They consist of three indigenous groups; Bahutu, Batutsi, and Batwa, and they speak Rufumbira, a language with similarities to Kinyarwanda.

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