Elimu Asilia

Kenya's Indigenous Knowledge

Bible Translation Literacy Center which translated Lusuba Bible in Mfangano Island
Photo: Gilbert Busolo, 2016

The Suba language has been classifi­ed as endangered in the UNESCO’s Red Book of Endangered Languages (2003). This is partly due to their assimilation and intermarriage with the Luo and influence of the people they interacted with along migration routes. The Suba  language is mainly spoken by elderly and middle aged people. The Mfangano dialect is spoken in Mfangano Island and thought to be pure. Other major dialects are Ekisuba in Gwasi and Subakuria.

Since 2004 efforts have been made to salvage the language through teaching adults and children, to enable the Abasuba speak the language. The Bible Translation and Literacy Center (BTL) used the Mfangano dialect to translate the New Testament (Endagano Empia) into Olusuba. The project was led by Naphtaly Matta the project coordinator and Boniface Musaswa, the chief editor. The Bible was launched in 2011 and plans are underway to translate the Old Testament. BTL has also developed Suba language primers, a series of books for teaching, reading and writing for beginners and semi literate learners. Other channels being used include radio programmes.


Source: www.UNESCO.org; Elimu Asilia workshop in April 2015 & BTL April 2016