Language: Himba
People Group: Himba
People Group Size: 50,000
Location: Namibia
Lifestyle: Semi-nomadic and pastoral (cattle, goats and sheep)

Translation Time-frame: Jan 2019 – Sept 2021
Completed in Phase 1: 83 Oral narratives, Oral Bible translation of Mark and the Christmas Stories of Luke, translation of The Greatest Gift booklet, and recording of Christian songs by choirs in 3 churches
Translation Phase:
Translation Goals: Oral Bible translation of Genesis and Romans 1-8
Source Languages: Herero and English
Managing Partners: Wycliffe SA / Opuwo Forum / Bible Society of Namibia

Deep in the north of Namibia live the nomadic cattle herders called the Himba. The Himba number over 50,000 and besides Namibia, there is also a community of Himba in the Kunene province of Angola. The Himba are a nomadic, pastoral people, closely related to the Herero people. The Himba women are renowned for their intricate hairstyles, traditional jewellery and the beautiful red colouring they get from rubbing their bodies with red ochre and fat for sun protection.

For a long time, it was thought that the Himba could share a Bible translation with the neighbouring Herero people, as their languages are closely related. However, the Himba were unable to connect with God through the written text. It was decided that an oral Bible would be recorded for them, and since 2015 they have worked diligently to craft and record many Old and New Testament narratives to be able to reach the hearts of the Himba.

Phase 1 was completed on-time and in-budget! In fact, they went above and beyond the targeted 60 narratives and gospel of Mark by completing 83 New Testament narratives, the full account of the birth of Jesus from Luke and Creation from Genesis. Funding for the second phase was secured to enable the commencement of phase 2 in May 2019. Even with COVID-19 restrictions that were implemented in March 2020, the team have been able to continue translating and the consultant has been able to work with them virtually.


  • Praise that the team and consultant have managed to have two virtual workshops since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in June and October 2020.
  • For technology to work, and internet connections to be good, so that team members can continue to be in touch.
  • That the team will be filled with excitement and encouragement as they continue working on this new phase of the project.
  • For more devices to spread God's Word further within the Himba communities.

Genesis 1-2 - Omaimburiro Wombutiro

Luke 1:39-56 - Song of Mary

(song starts at 1:40)

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