27/04/2011 President Jacob Zuma at the Union Building during the freedom day celebration. Picture : Sizwe Ndingane

Durban - The Roman Catholic Church and the Jacob Zuma Foundation have embarked on a mission to ensure the correct translation of the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew to Zulu.

The undertaking is expected to take at least three years, to ensure that it is accurate and that there are no omissions – as happened when it was translated from English.

On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma donated R500 000 on behalf of the foundation to complete the task started by Bishop Mlungisi Dlungwane of Mariannhill in KwaZulu-Natal.

He attended mass at the Mariannhill Mission with businessman Patrice Motsepe, MEC for Education Peggy Nkonyeni, MEC for Agriculture Meshack Radebe and eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo.

Zuma applauded the 32 people who would undertake the task, saying it would change people’s lives.

He commended the church for its role in protecting the community from poverty, adding that it also played a role in hospitals and schools.

“The Bible is a holy book. That is why believers should get the gist of it as it is, and it needs to be translated properly,” Zuma said.

“Zulu should not climb on top of other languages, but what is written should be translated directly from that language into Zulu.”

Zuma encouraged business people to contribute money to the project.

He also urged the congregation to register to vote and those without ID books to apply for them.

“I would not be doing my job if I didn’t encourage you to register to vote. We fought against apartheid; now we must fight the challenges that are facing the country.”

Dlungwane thanked Zuma for the donation.

The Mercury