Translating the Bible for the Oshiwambo People

Will you join us in praying for Oshiwambo people to have a Bible in their language?

The Oshiwambo people make up half the population of Namibia and a small population of Angola. They live in farms and villages relying on the region’s rich soil. Many generations of Oshiwambo people are plagued by the consequences of past generations. They came from homes were domestic tensions were high. Oshiwambo men were frequently recruited to work in mines faraway. Fatherless generations lacked guidance and stability from male role models. Today, there are high rates of crime and violence among Oshiwambo people especially the youth.

Oshiwambo people need the light of God’s Word to break generations of emotional pain, violence, and even suicide.

Providing Scripture in a Language They Can Understand

Although Bibles were first translated into Oshiwambo languages in 1974 and 1986, new translations are desperately needed. Young people find the current versions difficult to comprehend.

Most Oshiwambo people speak just one of two local languages: OshiNdonga or OshiKwanyama. Although closely related, each language has unique vocabulary words and idioms, which can be confusing for other Oshiwambo people.

Despite these challenges, the work of Bible translation is moving forward!

Bible Society of Namibia, Bible Society of Angola, and other Bible translation agencies are working together to translate the Bible for Oshiwambo people. New translations will be published in three editions: OshiNdonga, OshiKwanyama with Angolan word spacing, and OshiKwanyama with Namibian word spacing.

In 2020, they plan to publish their first Scripture Portion: the book of Mark. Three thousand copies will be printed and shared with young people in Oshiwambo communities. The translation team is also creating Bible study guides to help youth apply Mark’s Gospel to their own lives. The full Bible translation is expected to be finished in 2028.

We’re praying for the light of Scripture to bring hope and joy to the Oshiwambo people. Will you join us?

Let’s Thank God Together

God, we thank you for the translation team working on this project. We pray for their health, endurance, and protection. We also ask you to guide this Bible translation project to completion so the Oshiwambo people can engage with the life-giving message found in God’s Word

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Nena Podbury
Nena Podbury

Nena Podbury is a Prayer Mobilization Associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.

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