Siphuthi

Language: siPhuthi
People Group: ebaPhuthi
People Group Size: 43,000
Location: Lesotho and South Africa
Lifestyle: Subsistence farming

Translation Time-frame: October 2019 – September 2022
Translation Phase: 1
Translation Goals: Oral Bible translation of 40 narratives from both the Old and New Testament
Source Languages: Sesotho and English
Managing Partners: Wycliffe SA / Bible Society of Lesotho / Libhadla le baPhuthi

Tucked in the mountains of Lesotho are the Siphuthi speaking people who have maintained their language and culture, despite the shifting cultures around them, and have been in desperate need of a Bible translation. Partnering with the Bible Society of Lesotho, translation work began in early 2019. There have already been two workshops in 2019 which involved training and translation of the first 6 Old Testament narratives. Translation has continued through 2020, being recognised and covered by national TV and radio stations. The Bible translation process has also given the language status with the government; it will be named the second national language of Lesotho.

One of the Mother Tongue Translators, Mr Potsane Nzuzo shared about how he had been told in his old church that it was not possible to translate God’s word in Siphuthi. He had been struggling with thoughts about why God did not understand Siphuthi. He says after receiving an invitation to join the translation team: ‘So God can really hear Siphuthi and eBaphuthi? Isn’t it great to observe that I have been heard?’

Work started in 2019, with the initial goal to complete 40 oral narratives by September 2021, but the team was hard-hit by Covid-related disruptions. In 2021 the team suffered two losses due to Covid and were only able to conduct one virtual workshop out of the three planned. The string of delays and losses were discouraging for the team, but they persevered to set another date for a workshop in January 2022, during which they met and surpassed the goal of 40 stories! As an additional product, the team will also transcribe all the translated stories into a booklet for distribution. We commend the team for their perseverance and resilience in the face of hardship.

Prayer:

  • Praise God that despite the setbacks, the team caught up and exceeded the goals for this translation phase.
  • For comfort and encouragement to the team as they grieve the loss of loved ones.
  • That the team will be kept safe from further disruptions and experience a season of peace and accelerated productivity.
  • For the team to successfully complete the community testing process and transcribe the translated stories.

Luke 2:1-20, The Birth of Jesus

Siphuthi song, "Babe Whetfu"

(Our Father)

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