The Bible Society of Kenya launched the first portion for Banyala speakers who live in Kakamega County. This was the first ever Bible portion in their language as they look forward to the complete Bible.
The long-awaited launch of the Luke portion was held during a Pastor’s meeting in Kakamega County under strict adherence to the Government restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
This portion of Luke underwent the normal and engaging Bible translation process which include drafting, team revision, reviewers check, translation consultant checking, manuscript examination, typesetting, proofreading, insertion of corrections (after proofreading), confirmation of final proofs, and production of Camera-Ready Copies that go to the printers for the start of printing.
The Banyala are a Bantu ethnic group whose origin is traced in Uganda. After migrating from Uganda, the Banyala settled in Kakamega and Busia Counties where they intermarried with the locals specifically the Banyoro and Baganda. Since culture does not exist in isolation, some aspects of the Banyala culture have been influenced by interaction with other Luhya subgroups, including borrowing and sharing some words and meanings.
According to the 2009 National census, Navakholo, where the Banyala, resides had a population of 137,165 people while Busia had a population of 743,946, this figure comprises a mixture of Banyala and a few other Luhya dialects including Luo. The population has continued to increase over the years. The Banyala’s main economic activity is farming and like other Luhya sub-groups, they practice male circumcision as a cultural rite of passage.
The language of any community changes with time owing to external influences. If there exist no forms of preserving culture, it erodes and with time ceases to exist due to assimilation. The Lunyala Bible that is currently being translated will go a long way in preserving and maintaining the uniqueness of the Banyala speakers.
This community will join the other existing Luhya communities who have complete Bibles including Lunyore, Lubukusu, Logooli, Lukakamega; Lutirichi/Lwitakho/ Lwisukha and Oluluyia Bible (for the Marama/ Shisa/ Tsotso/Wanga) and Lusamia.
When the word of God is received in the heart language, it speaks to the heart and thus it has more impact on individuals’ lives. This greatly helps in fulfilling the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20. We desire to see the Banyala community transformed as they continue to interact with the Bible.