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Translation Begins in Kaaps

Translation Begins in Kaaps

Kaaps Bible Etienne Pieterse 4I have had the privilege of connecting with a guy called Etienne, of hearing his story and joining this part of his journey. He currently lives in Australia and works with YWAM, but he is a mother tongue Kaaps speaker from the Cape. Etienne prayed for a long time for God to bring His Word into Kaaps, but no one came forward. God’s response was to call Etienne to start the translation himself!

“Kaaps or Afrikaaps is a language created in settler colonial South Africa, developed by the 1500s. It took shape as a language during encounters between indigenous African (Khoi and San), South-East Asian, Dutch, Portuguese and English people” (Wikipedia). It has many similarities to Afrikaans, but is actually a completely separate language and culture in its own right. There has been a lot of oppression and shame surrounding speaking Kaaps throughout the years, which still lingers today. However, God sees the Kaaps people. He is bringing a revival within this language group, instilling identity and freedom. The Bible translation is coming at the perfect time.

Etienne started translating the book of Mark. After months of work and lots of support from family, friends and scholars, he has now completed the translation! There were many obstacles along the way, including the loss of many friends and family, but through God’s strength, Etienne has persevered.

Once the translation was near completion, Etienne hit a wall. Even though he has published a few books in the past, publishing a Bible translation is very different. I was connected with Etienne in order to work with him through the next steps in the translation process. We were able to pray together and discuss what needs to happen for the whole New Testament to be translated into Kaaps.

Through Wycliffe Links I have been able to connect Etienne with a consultant, a typesetter, printers and publishers, possible funders, and the leadership of WSA and our translation services domain. This will enable the translation to be thoroughly checked and certified as a true translation of the original Greek gospel, to be typeset in a booklet format and then published as the book of Mark in Kaaps, and finally to have 50,000 copies printed and ready for distribution across the Cape in December. The gospel of Mark will be available in Kaaps for the first time.

Going forward, we are looking to build relationships and partnerships with other organisations and Kaaps churches to be able to continue translation in the new year. WSA will be the managing partner, but Kaaps mother tongue speakers will do and own the translation. Praise God that He has heard Etienne’s prayers and that He sees the Kaaps people. One day, they will have the whole of God’s Word in their language.

By Helen van der Walt

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