The Lomwe, iLomwe or Lowe language is spoken in northern Mozambique (Moc̦ambique) and Malawi. The language was studied by E.D. Bowman from the Church of Scotland Mission who wrote “Grammar of Lomwe”.
Church of Scotland Mission
The Church of Scotland Blantyre Mission was established in 1876. E.D. Bowman from the Church of Scotland Mission, oversaw the translation of the New Testament into Lomwe, led by Lewis Mataka Bandawe. They books were composed and printed at the Scottish Mission Press (Composto e Impresso na Imprensa da Missão Escoceza), and printed at the expense of the National Bible Society of Scotland (Sociedade Biblica Nacional D'Escocia), now called the Scottish Bible Society.
Lewis Mataka Bandawe
Lewis Mataka Bandawe was born ain 1887 at Kongoni in Mozambique. In 1899 aged 13, Lewis Bandawe moved to Blantyre Mission. In 1913 he married Grace Lindsay Ajufari at the Blantyre Mission. He was Head of the Mihecani Mission until 1928, translating the New Testament into Lomwe. On leaving the Mission he became a clerk at Blantyre High Court for Chief Justice Lyall-Grant. Bandawe was promoted to head Clerk and interpreter at High Court in 1934. A post he held for 26 years. He formed the Lomwe Tribal Society in 1943 in Blantyre and was one of the founders of Nyasaland African Congress in 1944. He was awarded the MBE for his contributions to society. He died in 1967. Lewis Mataka Bandawe wrote his reminiscences as “Memoir of a Malawian: The Life and Reminiscences of Lewis Mataka Bandawe MBE” which was published by the Christian Literature Association in Malawi in 1971.
Lomwe Scripture Translation
The first book of the Bible in Lomwe was the Gospel of Mark, called “Michaka Yaphama ya Marko”, which was printed in 1917. 1923 the 4 Gospels and Acts were printed. Matthew called “Mitchaka Yaphama ya Mateyu”. A revised edition of Mark was issued as “Mitchaka Yaphama ya Marko”. Luke was called “Mitchaka Yaphama ya Luka”. John was called “Mitchaka Yaphama ya Yohane”, and Acts was called “Saweriwa Tarummwa”.
In 1930 the New Testament and Psalms as a whole was first published. The 1923 editions of the Gospels and Acts were bound with Romans to Revelation and Psalms which were translated by Lewis Mataka Bandawe and a committee. The whole work was revised by Andrew Reid from the Church of Scotland Mission. In Lomwe it is called “Nlakano Nahihano na Jesus Cristo Apwiyahu ni Masalmo”. On the spine title it read “Nlakano Nahihano - Masalmo”. In Portuguese it is called “O Novo testamento de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo com o Livro dos Salmos”. It was later reprinted by the Unted Bible Socicietes in 1965, 1981, 1988, 2004.
The Lomnwe New Testament and Psalms from 1930 was digitised with the help of MissionAssist in 2022, for the Bible Society of Mozambique (Casa da Biblia), with the permission of the Scottish Bible Society.
Bible Society of Mozambique
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