Senegal is a geographically and culturally diverse country on the western tip of Africa. It has a rich trading history centred around its port-city capital, Dakar. Senegal has 55 people groups and there is a strong tradition of Islam.
Daily life varies widely. Outside towns and cities, many people are subsistence farmers or herders and speak numerous languages. Formal education is delivered in French, which was retained as Senegal’s official language when the country gained independence from France in 1960.
Contemporary Wolof is the language spoken by most people in Senegal’s towns and cities. Although it is the most common language spoken in homes, there is no Bible translation in Contemporary Wolof. The Bible is available in French and there is a New Testament in a Wolof dialect spoken in many villages, but Contemporary Wolof speakers cannot understand it.
For Christians, it means that there is no Bible in the language of their home and their heart. Reaching out to their non-Christian neighbours is challenging without having the Bible in the language natural to most people. It can make following Jesus sound foreign.
The ambitious aim is to create a truly accessible, spoken translation of the New Testament that Contemporary Wolof speakers will be able to listen to and instantly understand and connect with. A later, printed version will then be developed from the spoken translation.
Translation of the Bible into Contemporary Wolof will also equip local churches with God’s words in their language for use in services.
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