A legend which has been preserved for over one and a half centuries is again being discussed in Swaziland, Africa.
Local history in Swaziland has it that the founder of the nation, King Somhlolo, who ruled in 1844, had a vision in which he saw people of a different colour coming to him bearing two objects. One was a book (umculu), the other a circular object (indilinga).
The king was advised in his dream to spurn the circular object (interpreted as money), but to take the book (the Bible). So he sent four messengers to find the men with the book. They went down to the Methodist Mission at Thaba Nchu in the Free State and their visit resulted in two missionaries going to Swaziland in 1844.
Early this year, the complete Bible in Swati was jointly published by the Bible Society of South Africa and the Bible Society in Swaziland, and King Somhlolo's vision of 153 years ago, which was partly fulfilled with the coming of the missionaries bearing the Christian Gospel in 1844, has at last been perfectly fulfilled.
For the first time ever, almost two million Swati speakers living in Swaziland and South Africa are able to read and hear the Bible in their own language. Before the production of this Bible, Swati speakers wanting to read the full Bible have had to read it in English or Zulu.
The New Testament was published in 1981 and an edition with Psalms in 1986.
His Majesty King Mswati III of Swaziland instructed that a special thanksgiving day be held to celebrate the arrival of the first Swati Bible.
Three other African nations celebrated the arrival of new Scriptures earlier this year.
In January, the Kabiye New Testament was launched in Kara, Togo, in the presence of about 4,500 people, including members of the government.
In February, the Igikuria New Testament was launched for Abakuria communities living on Kenya's border with Tanzania.
And in April the Bible Society in Mozambique published a new interconfessional New Testament in the Gitonga language. About 4,000 people joined in a joyful celebration and within an hour of the launch 715 copies were sold!
Source: Errol Pike
E-mail: [email protected]
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