For years, people with visual disabilities used braille in English language and to some, it was a challenge as they wanted to read the Word of God in their heart language. Shona is widely spoken in more than seven of the ten provinces of Zimbabwe. Who knew that one day Braille Bible will be available in Shona and used in Churches, schools and communities. On this sunny day, it was a hive of activities as all roads led to Harare where the Bible Society of Zimbabwe was launching its first ever Shona Braille Bible in the land. The sighted guests were blindfolded for a moment as they entered the venue and were escorted to their respective seats. This was done to make them have an artificial feel of what it is like to be visually impaired. The Board members, General Secretary, members of staff and other invited guests came to understand how life is when someone is visually impaired. Some could not take it only for thirty seconds and to imagine permanent visual impairment, one would just say may the Almighty God be with the visually impaired. The exercise helped the sighted present to appreciate what the visually impaired go through on a daily basis and it aided in raising awareness on issues of PVD and disability as a whole.
The Guest of Honor, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Honorable Monica Mutsvangwa representing the government, graced the occasion and was also blindfolded and aided to her seat. Speaking during the launch, the Minister applauded Bible Society of Zimbabwe for complimenting government efforts in driving the inclusive agenda of leaving no one and no place behind. ‘No person at whatever level of life must not be reached with the Word of God and for a nation to be at peace, there is great need for upholding Christian principles from grassroots level. Bible Society has closed the information gap for the benefit of people with visual impairment.’ she said. There was jubilation as people with visual impairment welcomed the move by Bible Society of Zimbabwe to publish a Braille Bible. Speaking at the sidelines of the launch, Mr Chando , a visually impaired teacher at St Faith in Rusape alluded that there was a gap between the visually impaired and the sighted ones. The only book available was in English but now the gap has been narrowed as we now have it in Shona. Brendon Nengare , Murewa High School upper six student said that this development shows the Glory of God as the Bible is being expressed in many languages. Ms Beauty Ngwende , a visually impaired graduate said that our culture has been restored in the introduction of the Shona Braille Bible.
Several organizations, government departments and schools present at the launch congratulated Bible Society of Zimbabwe for the heart and positive spirit in making a Shona Braille Bible. Dr Peta, a Director in the Social Services department was present, a representative from the Office of the President on Disability issues representing the Special Advisor to the President Hon J Malinga who later passed on that evening [May his dear soul rest in eternal peace] was also present. A number of organizations like Dorothy Duncan Library, Harare Library, St Giles, Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Jairos Jiri School of the Blind, Churches and community representatives were in ululation as they welcomed this drive by the Bible Society of Zimbabwe. Cementing its tagline, Helping People Interact with God’s Word, Bible Society of Zimbabwe is making strides in making known the Word of God in all people grouping in the land. Indeed, to God be the Glory.