Mbeya NT Cluster | Safwa
This language group is participating in the Mbeya NT Cluster project.
About 158,000 Safwa speakers live in the mountains and plains near Mbeya, Tanzania. Some people live up in the highest part of the mountains, 8,800 feet or more above sea level. Most people make their living growing crops such as corn, millet, sunflowers and cassava, and they also grow cash crops such as cotton and coffee. Some people raise cattle, goats or sheep, and many young men go to find jobs in Mbeya.
Eager for God’s Word in their mother tongue, Safwa church leaders organized a translation and literacy team to attend workshops offered by SIL in Mbeya. Supported strongly by their churches and community, the team started work in 2003 and has laid a foundation for translation with careful linguistic work. They developed a new way of writing their language and have been compiling a dictionary and studying how their language functions. Some team members are teaching Safwa people to read so they will benefit from the new translation. The team began by drafting Jonah, Ruth and Mark, and their progress continues from there.
News from the Field
There are 10 languages in the Mbeya cluster, living in the mountains and plains of southeastern Africa: Bena, Bungu, Malila, Ndali, Nyakyusa-Ngonde, Nyiha, Safwa, Sangu, Wanji, and Kinga. Praise the Lord that the project is fully partnered. In 2003, several church leaders formed a council to initiate Bible translation projects for their people. Forty leaders representing 10 languages and nine Christian denominations have committed to the project.
The Mbeya cluster touches over 3 million speakers of 10 languages that live in the mountains and plains of southeastern Africa. In 2003, several church leaders formed a council to initiate Bible translation projects for their people. Forty leaders representing 10 languages and nine Christian denominations have committed to the project.