“To have the whole Bible in San is for us a victory over the Enemy and over obscuritanism. More and more Samo people (who speak San) are learning to read, and now they will be able to read God’s Word in their own language.”
These are the words of Thomas Traoré, President of the Eglise de l’Alliance Chrétienne (Church of the Christian Alliance) of Burkina Faso, at the publication of the first Bible in San – a language spoken by more than 230,000 people. The new Bible was dedicated in February, in Toma, Nayala Province, and was welcomed with great joy by the Christian community with prayers, singing and dancing.
Dramane Yankiné, General Secretary of the Bible Society of Burkina Faso, gave a brief history of the San Bible translation project. Work on translating the New Testament was started in 1982 by American missionary Richard Phillips and was later continued by the Bible Society and SIL. The New Testament was published in 1996, and work on the Old Testament began two years later.
“God speaks San and wants to talk to you in your language, so put your new Bible to good use,” Mr Yankiné told the gathering of Samo Christians, urging them to use it as a tool to build their faith and to improve their literacy skills.
Samuel Yameogo, President of the Federation of Evangelical Churches and Missions, thanked the Bible Society for its work to make available “the precious book that is the Bible” in the languages spoken by people in Burkina Faso.
“The translation of the Word of God is in accord with the Spirit of Pentecost, when the apostles spoke in the mother tongues of the people around them,” he noted. “There is no sacred language in which God communicates; God speaks to each person in his or her language in order to be understood.”
Jean Ouédrago, Secretary General of Nayala Province, said that he hoped that the San Bible would help establish Christianity among the Samo people, and be used as a tool to develop the region.
The launch of the San Bible follows that of the Mooré, Jula, Bobo Mandaré and Gulmancéma. The Bible in Dagara, Bissa and Lyélé will soon also be available.
By Gladys Guienguere, Bible Society of Burkina Faso