In the heartlands of Dande, under the majestic Mount Darwin, in the Moshonaland Central Province of Zimbabwe, live three men and their families who are organising, structuring and implementing changes for their language community - the Korekore. They are proud of their heritage and culture, despite the fact that the Zimbabwean government does not recognise Korekore as an official language, even though they have a population of 1,7 million people!
Of this population, 30% are Christians, and their only Bible is written in the main Zimbabwean language called Shona.
Reverend Kamios Chakauya is a pastor and Bible translator and leads the team of Korekore Bible translators. Midion Chitsere and Abednigo Takapera are the two other translator team members. Becoming a Bible translator was not an easy decision for him. He recalls, “The journey was tough for me because I counted myself as inferior to be engaged in such a beautiful, high-quality project. I imagined that there were many people more educated than me in my community, who were also younger and more capable, but they were not available to commit to this translation work. I asked myself how I was going to manage the training program, but God has been faithful by helping me sail through. The training has given me some new abilities. With the help of God, I am now enjoying it”.
The wider cultural context in which these three men are spearheading Korekore Bible translation is difficult and complex. Their language faces extinction because the national language - Shona - is more widely spoken and written/read. Kamios has noted that their Korekore community has been looked down upon, and for as long as they can remember, it has been as if they did not have an identity. Their language was scorned and laughed at. He believes that this Korekore Bible translation project is ‘as good as raising them from the dead’. He believes it is already transforming them because they are learning that they are also important to God - as important as any other tribe under heaven.
Pastor Kamios is thrilled that the Bible is being translated into his heart language because he sees that having the Bible in Korekore is rejuvenating for their community. He and the other translators are excited because not only is their mother tongue being revived and preserved, but also, the next generation will be taught in Korekore. They are encouraged that having the Bible in Korekore will deepen their faith as they get to know God better in the language that He gave them. Pastor Kamios noted, “If the Bible is translated into Korekore, the communities will also develop the belief that they are also rightful children of God, who are called by His Name”.
He goes on to say, “The truth about the importance of the Bible translation is that to us, it is as important as clean water. It is the Word of God. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. So having the Bible translated in any particular language brings eternal life to all speakers of that language who would believe the Word”.
The big project they are working on is to get their language accepted and recognised by the government as one of the official languages of Zimbabwe. They are working hard to develop the Dande Heritage Conservation Syndicate with the purpose to grow and strengthen their community. They have applied to the Zimbabwean government for the Korekore language to be recognised and given official status as the 17th official language of Zimbabwe.
Their hopes for the future are high - to hold the Word of God, in Korekore, in their hands and experience the Bible in the language that is most natural to them. The hope of the first-ever book in Korekore!
Please join us as we lift up Pastor Kamios Chakauya, Midion Chitsere and Abednigo Takapera in prayer. We pray that our Father would empower and strengthen them and give them continued hope and perseverance as they do the work He has called them to do.