Location: Mbeya Region, Iriniga Region (Makete District)
Religion: Christian, traditional religion
Alternate names: Kinyakyusa, and in Malawi its is known as Ngonde, Ikingonde, Konde, Nkonde
The Nyakyusa: A Nyakyusa New Testament was published in 1966 and a complete Bible in 1996. However, the translated Scriptures are not widely used largely because the writing system is difficult for people to read. Few people of this generation have learned to read and write Nyakyusa.
When the churches learned about the Mbeya-Iringa Cluster Project they requested the opportunity join in order to get a translated Bible in a writing system that meets their needs. The Nyakyusa community has many well-educated people and also many highly theologically qualified pastors, who are able to work in literacy and Bible Translation.
Location within Country: The Nyakyusa live in the southwestern areas of Mbeya Region and to the north of Lake Malawi. Some are also in Iringa Region, Makete District.
Other countries where these people live: Malawi
Cultural Information: The Nyakyusa are traditionally farmers as they live in a very fertile area. Bananas are used a lot in their daily diet. The Nyakyusa community has many well-educated people and also many highly theological qualified pastors, who are able to work in literacy and Bible Translation.
Language Group Information: Traditionally they have been the dominant group in the area and their language has a lot of prestige.
The Nyakyusa were the last language to officially join the Mbeya-Iringa Cluster Project in November 2004. Two Nyakyusa pastors had taken part in all of the linguistic workshops from the beginning however. To begin with, the Nyakyusa wanted to develop a better alphabet, a literacy program, and a dictionary. After some discussion the Nyakyusa church leaders decided they also want a new Bible Translation for the Nyakyusa because the 1996 Translation is not well understood by the Tanzanian Nyakyusa.
The Nyakyusa Church: After joining the Mbeya-Iringa Cluster Project, the church leaders sent many pastors to the translation workshops in early 2005. Their dedication to this endeavor was demonstrated by the payment of salaries and travel fees so the participants could attend the workshops. Since that time participation has decreased, however.
History: The first Nyakyusa writing system was similar to the German writing system, because it was developed by German missionaries who first translated the Bible and other materials. The whole Bible was revised and reprinted in 1996 by the Bible Society of Tanzania, using this same system which is different enough from the writing system of the national language, Swahili, that it is difficult for this generation to read. Few people of this generation have learned to read and write in Nyakyusa and the Nyakysa Bibles are not widely used in Tanzania. The Nyakyusa were the last language to officially join the Mbeya-Iringa Cluster Project in November 2004.
The Nyakyusa Team: The team has members from FPCT, Baptist and TAG churches. The team is made up of Andrew M. and Edwin K. as translators with David M. and Andrew M. as Literacy/SU coordinators.