Afrikaans-speaking people make up a group descended from early Dutch and French Huguenot settlers who came to South Africa beginning in about 1652.
For quite some time, we have felt a responsibility to take the gospel to this group. We spent time looking for a practical way to realize this desire to reach more people with the gospel—while keeping in mind our limited resources and the necessity of maintaining the best possible standard of work for a project of this nature.
We concluded that Afrikaans would be the most manageable place to start.
Therefore, United Church of God, South Africa set about looking at how to accomplish this in the most effective way. Having settled on Afrikaans as the chosen language, we then decided that an up-to-date website was required as a good foundation to better promote our new material. So, a search was undertaken to identify a design that would be fast, effective, user-friendly and appealing. We set about searching for a website design that would best suit our needs. The beauty of modern technology is that we’re now able to reach the many Afrikaans-speaking South Africans spread across the globe—in the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many European countries.
We held many discussions with our colleagues around the world and discovered true brotherly love and assistance in all aspects of our quest. The Australian UCG site ticked all the boxes. To our joy and gratitude UCG Australia offered to pay for the creation of our website and offered us the services of their web designer, Geoff Robinson, who attends the Brisbane, Queensland, congregation. With help from Monique Webster (also of Brisbane), a former resident of South Africa who is fluent in Afrikaans, they produced a superb website—ucg.org.za.
Everything was falling into place, and by the time the home office in Cincinnati had approved the allocation of funds to cover the cost of translation and layout, we had a plan and a team ready to go. Together with website assistance from Australia, layout files supplied by the Cincinnati home office as well as the Dutch office, our ambitious three-year, one-title-per-month project was under way.
Those leading this project include Port Elizabeth elder Clive Demont, project manager, and Mariana Simons, a deaconess in the Cape Town congregation and former Afrikaans teacher, who is the translator. Barbara Botha of Cape Town is the proofreader. Vivien Botha, an elder in Cape Town, is the layout and production coordinator, while Isella Wallis, the UCG office manager and a member in Gauteng, performs administrative duties.
Being acutely aware of the need to accurately present the gospel and the doctrines of the Church, we’ve been blessed in establishing a team entirely within the Church.
Particularly challenging is explaining Greek and Hebrew words, and when dealing with Bible translations (for example in the How to Understand the Bible booklet), Mariana had to do independent research about Afrikaans Bible translations.
So far, we’ve completed 10 titles, with the 11th almost done. Response so far has been slow, but as more and more titles are completed, we look forward to a steady increase.