Translation of Bahai scripture shows respect for human rights in
Botswana - Mogae
05 March, 2001
The publication of Dithapelo Tsa Bahai and Mafoko a a subilweng books of
Bahai Faith is being done in an atmosphere of respect for fundamental human
rights and freedom of individuals, including the right to worship.
Officially launching the two books in Gaborone on Tuesday, President Festus
Mogae said freedom of religion is one of the rights entrenched in the
Constitution of Botswana.
Mogae said Dithapelo tsa Bahai and Mofoko a a Subilweng are a milestone and
a manifestation of the steady growth of Bahai Faith in Botswana and
underlines the importance of the universal character of spirituality.
He commended the translators for producing what he referred to as a
magnificent work; and their dedication, devotion and selflessness. He added
that the translators have shown their love for other people by making sure
that the spiritual verses are accessible to those who could not read them
He said translating scripture is a special challenge because it is written
in an exalted, poetic style and the translator has the difficult task of
conveying the beauty of the original without distorting its meaning.
"I must emphasise the fact that skill with which the translators
incorporated Setswana idiom and rhythms while retaining the beauty and sense
of the English idioms and figures of speech is admirable."
He said the two books are not only the prayers and the holy writings for
Bahai faith but also a welcome contribution to the development of Setswana
"It is encouraging to note that a number of young people have formed
Setswana drama and theatre groups producing high quality performances and
making innovative use of the language," he said. "We have a reason to be
concerned, Setswana remains a living expression of our culture. I'm pleased
that Bahai recognises this fact."
Gerald Warren, of the Bahai Faith, said on behalf of his religious
organisation that the two books contain selected prayers and scriptures of
the Bahai Faith.
Warren said, however, that the books were not promoted as religious context
but as contributors to Setswana literature. He said the task was not easy as
translators spend many years of work to ensure that Setswana of these
translations sounds beautiful and fluent.
He explained that the books use Setswana idioms and figures of speech and
they are written in a style that some readers might find old-fashioned but
is appropriate for holy scripture. Each book contains a glossary of
difficult Setswana words.
©Copyright 2001, BOPA (Botswana Daily News)
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