Friday, 18 May 2018 13:36

The old men helped!

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Atonement! What is the right word for it in Pokomo? Sacrifice? No. Reconciliation? How? I racked my hairless head, and got nothing. I asked my colleague Vincent, he too saw blank. Now what? I called a few old men who always bailed me out whenever I was hemmed in by bonds of limited language and asked them to give me an equivalent word for atonement. They too did not know! I asked myself, “Why call themselves old men, if they did not know something as simple as atonement?”
 
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 I had to change my approach. I called the same old men and asked them what happened in our culture when someone did something so hideous like killing a kinsman or committing incest? They said a particular ritual was performed to cleanse the evil and make things right between the offender and the offended, animal blood had to be spilled. I asked them what that particular ritual was called. Everybody I phoned told me it was called “Yala”.
 
Next, I went to my fellow translators. We brought our heads together and decided to use that word as we waited for the reviewers to give us their views since this is a Key Biblical Term. When they came to review I Chronicles, they agreed that “yala” was the right word for atonement, only that the term was expressed in the verb form “kuyala”. What a mine of cultural wisdom!
 
by Shedrack Falama
Read 97 times Last modified on Tuesday, 29 May 2018 04:49

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