Population: 15,000

Location: Kondoa District, Dodoma Region

Altitude: 1200-1800 metres

Diet: Millet, Maize, Sorghum, beans, sweet potatoes

Religion: Traditional, Muslim, Christian

Economic Status: $150 per year (in a year with a good harvest)

Alternate Names: Bulunge, Mbulugwe, Burungi

>> Browse our stories from the Burunge project

The Burunge people are a small group of approximately 13,000 people who live in close proximity to other languages such as the Rangi, Gogo and Sandawe. The Burunge belong to a small cluster of ethnic groups in Tanzania known as the Southern Cushites. The people are proud of their language and are excited about the prospect of being able to read it and having the Scriptures. Some are already learning to read Burunge and there are already some literacy materials and Scriptures pending publication. Although the work is time-consuming and challenging, the team is thrilled about the progress they are making.

Burunge people are proud of their language, because they are able to read and write it now.

History: The Burunge belong to a small cluster of ethnic groups in Tanzania known as the Southern Cushites. Their ancestors are believed to originate from the Ethiopean plateau. A first trace of this occupation dates from the Upper Paleolithic period. At some time before 1000BC new waves of Caucasoid people began to fan out from southern Ethiopia bringing with them a full Neolithic culture with agriculture and domestic animals. The difference betweeen the languages of the Southern Cushites in Tanzania and the Cushites of Southern Ethiopia suggest a long period of isolation and linguistic differentiation. (Murdock pp 193-196)

Translation Work

Before translation work can begin sound linguistic work must be completed. The following have been done so far: 

  • Orthography approved.
  • Writer’s guide.
  • Discourse analysis has begun.
  • Jonah (dedication Sept 2006)
  • Abraham story (dedication Oct 2006)
  • The Gospel of Mark (awaiting publication)
  • Ruth (dedication Nov 2005) 

With God’s grace the linguistic work is done and translation work has started! Ruth is the first Biblical book in Burunge and we are very pleased with the good work John, Emmanuel and Michael did. 

The Translation Team

The Wycliffe linguists involved in the project are Michael and Sybille E. 

We praise God for the two Burunge-translators, Pastor John K and Emmanuel D, who started working with the project in October 2004.

The Wycliffe literacy specialist is Anna B, who joined the project in March 2006. She is working with Samson B, a Burunge man who has been doing literacy work for the past few years. The people are really excited for their Bible translation. They are asking to have the existing transition literacy classes and help with Scripture use in all of the churches. 

Samweli K is a teaching assistant in the transition literacy workshops. Right now the literacy team is doing ‘Transitional Literacy’ which is teaching people who already know how to read Swahili to read Burunge. 

Literacy Production

  • Short stories Burunge people have written at writer’s workshops 
  • Primer

Scripture Use

The Burunge team is thankful that Pastor Richard S has now joined them in doing Scripture Use.

>> Browse our stories from the Burunge project