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
Completed in Phase 1: Oral Bible translation of 47 narratives from both the Old and New Testament
Translation Phase: In transition (phase 1 to phase 2)
Translation Goals: Oral Bible translation of Genesis, Luke, Acts and Hebrews
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 their initial goal of 40 stories! They are now planning for a dedication event to distribute the translated Scriptures, and are preparing to transition into phase 2. They will also be the first community where we will launch a new initiative: Scripture Engagement workshops.

Prayer:

  • Praise God that despite the setbacks, the team caught up and exceeded the goals for phase 1.
  • For God's hand over the transition into a new translation phase, and for the necessary resources to be available.
  • That the team will be successful in organising the dedication event, and for hungry hearts to be prepared to receive and share the Scriptures.
  • For God's blessing on the team leading the Scripture Engagement, and for the activities to be effective and impactful 

Luke 2:1-20, The Birth of Jesus

Siphuthi song, "Babe Whetfu"

(Our Father)

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