BY STAFF REPORTER
THE Jehovah’s Witnesses have released the first Bible book of Matthew in sign language in Zimbabwe.
In a statement yesterday, the Jehovah’s Witnesses said the sign language book of Matthew was released in Zimbabwean sign language in Harare at the weekend and would cater for the deaf in the country, as well as deaf members of their congregation.
Statistics by the Zimbabwe National Association of the Deaf reveal that there are approximately 1,5 million deaf people in Zimbabwe.
“We have 243 actually deaf members in 21 congregations, 86 hearing who associate with the deaf to assist them countrywide, making a total of 323. There are more than 50 000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Zimbabwe, including the deaf,” the statement by the Jehovah’s Witnesses read.
“They deserve a Bible in their language so that God’s word can be directed to the deaf without the use of an interpreter. Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy to make the Bible available in the language of the heart to the deaf community in Zimbabwe.
Taurai Mazarura, a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses branch committee said: “In many Bibles, translators removed the name Jehovah from Matthew to Revelations. However, in the Zimbabwean sign language version of the book of Matthew, the name Jehovah is retained. This glorifies Jehovah, the author of the Bible.”
The statement also said the Jehovah’s Witnesses had embarked on the Bible translation project for the last 27 books of the Bible, beginning with the book of Matthew.
“This work will take about two years. Our entire goal is to have the entire Bible translated into Zimbabwean sign language from Genesis through to Revelations,” John Hunguka, another Jehovah’s Witnesses branch committee member added.
Hunguka said the entire project would take about 10 years to complete.
He said one of the challenges experienced in translation to sign language included the differences in the signs used by deaf people in Zimbabwe as different schools taught different dialects.
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