We traveled to Karonga, a region of Malawi near the border with Tanzania. We went there to test out various matters in Nyakyusa among the community there. Karonga is a region with many Nyakyusa speakers, who call themselves the Wangonde, although their names are the same as those used by the Nyakyusa of Tanzania and they are closely related to them.
We benefited from a great deal of help there. There are many native words for everyday things still in use among the Ngonde, which have been forgotten in Tanzania (for example "tugindwa," which means palm leaves). The Wangonde understand these words very well.
One person in particular, a man named Mwalimba, told us that nowadays there are very many Wangonde people who know very little about the Bible. "It is because we lack Bibles in our own language," he said.
"The Wangonde, we are treated with little respect," Walimba said. For that reason, he claimed, the Ngonde have been by-passed in the preparation of local language Bibles in the wider national community of that region. "There are many of us who would be happy," he said, "to make use of the Tanzanian Nyakyusa Bible."
"If you do not succeed in providing us with Bibles here in Karonga," Mwalimba said, "then you will have killed us off, because we have no Bibles that can be understood by our people. We have only English Bibles, and the Bibles of other tribes. But all worship here is carried out in people's own mother tongues. If this situation continues many Christians will have no Biblical teaching at all,and the future of Christianity here will be in doubt!"
story by Andrew Mwamatandala and Edwin Kanyiki