The Bible Society of Kenya will soon launch its 23rd Bible; the Revised Kalenjin Bible.
Kalenjin Bible Translators with the BSK General Secretary
Kalenjin Bible Translators with the BSK General Secretary Mrs. Elizabeth Muriuki and Head of Operations Mr. Thomas Tharao (right)
This long awaited Bible has taken 7 years to revise. The project began in 2007 with three translators, Rev. Samuel Kikwai (AGC), Father Charles Kiruy (Catholic) and Rev Rugut (RGC) later replace by Bishop Musa Maina (RGC). A team of Reviewers and Management Committee members team also worked tirelessly to see this Bible come to fruition. The Society desires to see the lives of the Kalenjin community transformed through God’s word that’s why it’s in the process of availing this Bible for use soon.
The Kalenjin community is made up of 14 mutually intelligible dialects, which can be grouped into four clusters: the Rift Valley, the Mt. Elgon, the Pokot and the Ogiek groups. Initially, there was only one Bible for all the dialects, which was published in 1939 based entirely on the Nandi dialect. Most of the dialects could not understand this Bible hence leading to the publishing of the Kalenjin Union version in 1969. This version adequately caters for all the Rift Valley dialects. Later on, the Pokot Bible was launched in 2009 to cater for the Pokot speakers.
In 2002, the Kalenjin Church leaders approached the Bible Society of Kenya with a request to have the Kalenjin Union Bible’s contents readdressed to make them more understood by their people.
The Kalenjin language belongs to the South Nilotic group of languages. It has several dialects, but the most mutually intelligible ones include Nandi, Kipsigis, Tugen, Terik, Marakwet, and Keiyo. All these people are estimated to be over 3 million in number (1999 census). Their basic lifestyle evolves around livestock farming, especially cattle, sheep and goats, for the purpose of both sale and domestic use. Cash crop farming is also practised in some areas like Trans-Nzoia County.
The whole region occupied by the Kalenjin community has mixed climatic conditions: Whereas some areas are rich in both soil and rainfall, some are both arid and semi-arid with agriculturally unproductive land, but ideal for livestock keeping, especially goats. Despite this picture, poverty is rampant amongst the people. The literacy level is average due to especially the younger generation’s interest in pursuing studies. Most of the older generation (40 years and above) is illiterate, but fluent speakers of their respective dialects.
Features of this new Bible include; Extra Features in the Revised Kalenjin Bible
- DC books.
- Enhanced footnote and explanatory notes.
- Enhanced cross reference system
- Words that have similar meaning in different Kalenjin dialects
- Kalenjin calendar
- A precious stones table
- A preface and various introductions to the Bibles
- Concordance of word occurrences and references in the Bible
- Enhanced glossary table
- Enhanced maps
The Bible Society of Kenya is therefore very privileged to avail this Bible to the Kalenjin community so that they can read God’s word in a language they understand best!