Bible Society Seeks UGX5Billion to Finish Rufumbira Bible Translation

The Bible Society of Uganda (BSU) is actively pursuing a 5 billion shilling project to complete the translation of the Bible into the Rufumbira language. This project, initiated three years ago, aims to serve the Muhabura Diocese in Kisoro district, which primarily speaks Rufumbira. While the New Testament has already been successfully translated, the Old Testament remains unfinished.

According to Mr. Peter Lumbuye Serumaga, the Acting Secretary-General of BSU, more than 5 billion shillings are required to finalize the translation of the Old Testament and produce a complete Rufumbira Bible. However, the precise amount invested in the project thus far was not disclosed.

Additionally, BSU is working on constructing a Bible, expected to be completed in 5-8 years, for the Batwa, a minority ethnic group in Uganda. The Bishop of Muhabura Diocese, Rt. Rev. Godfrey Mbitse, emphasized the significance of this achievement, as the community had been using Kinyarwanda Bibles, which had distinct vocabulary from Rufumbira.

This translation effort is expected to encourage more authors to release works in the Rufumbira language, fostering linguistic and cultural advancement within the Kitumbura-speaking community. It aligns with the long-standing tradition of translating the Holy Scriptures into various languages, dating back to early Christianity.

The completion of the Rufumbira Bible is seen as a significant development for the southwestern Uganda diocese. To date, BSU has translated the Holy Bible into only 20 of the 43 languages spoken in the country, leaving over half of the languages without full translations. The first Ugandan translation was the Luganda Bible in 1887, with the addition of the New Testament in 1893. A complete Bible, known as the “Biscuit Bible,” was released in 1896, and subsequent translations followed as Christianity spread across Uganda.

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The Bafumbira are a Bantu ethnic group primarily from Kisoro District in Southwestern Uganda, but their presence can be found throughout the country. The group consists of three indigenous subgroups: Bahutu, Batutsi, and Batwa, and they speak Rufumbira, a language with similarities to Kinyarwanda.

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