Language: sePulana
People Group: maPulana
People Group Size: 800,000
Location: South Africa
Lifestyle: Subsistence farming

Translation Time-frame: Oct 2020 - Sep 2022
Translation Phase: 1
Translation Goals: Oral Bible translation of 40 narratives from both the Old and New Testament, and an oral and written translation of Mark
Source Languages: Sepedi and English
Managing Partners: Wycliffe SA / Church of the Nazarene / Mapulaneng Writers' Association

Mapulaneng is the "Place of the Mapulana people." The language community is spread across northeastern Mpumalanga and southeastern Limpopo, with Sepulana being a non-official community language spoken by most people in Bushbuckridge. Having been marginalised during apartheid, the community community have since lobbied to have Sepulana as an official language of Mpumalanga. In 2018, a government entity agreed to use their long marginalised language in official signage, and then in 2019  the Mapulaneng Writer’s Association introduced and launched six newly published novels written in Sepulana.

There are around 30 active languages in South Africa, many of which are still waiting for the Bible to be translated into their heart language. For the Mapulana, having the scriptures available will encourage them to study God’s Word and will strengthen the work of reaching out to the unsaved among the Mapulana. The whole community is eager to give Sepulana the status it deserves.  

Most of the necessary preparations and agreements with the partners have now been concluded. The team and partners are  all in place, and the first training workshop took place in November 2020, ready to start translation work in 2021. Three times a year the team will come together for a 2-week translation workshop, with the translations being tested among different communities in the months in between. Pastor Molimi from the Bushbuckridge ministers council says, "Today we walk tall. We feel heaven is opening for us, because the Bible is coming into Sepulana." Praise God for bringing His Word to every language.


  • Praise that this new translation is getting underway.
  • For the remaining administrative processes to be concluded.
  • For the translation team as they train in the work of Bible Translation and get used to working together.
  • That the communities will wait with open hearts, and that the testing of newly translated Scriptures will have a great impact on the lives of Mapulana.

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