Nigerian creates vernacular Bible apps

2014-04-28 09:24

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - On the streets of Lagos and across God-fearing southern Nigeria, it's not uncommon to see people with a leather-bound Bible in one hand and a cellphone in the other.

But the Good Book's days could be numbered - in printed form at least - if 25-year-old Kayode Sowole's idea takes off.

The computer science student is the brains behind a series of new smartphone applications to make the word of God available in the country's four main languages at the touch of a button.

Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and even pidgin English downloads are available, catering to the masses of devout Christians in one of the world's fastest-growing mobile phone markets.

"With this innovation, you do not need the Internet to read the Bible," the University of Lagos student told AFP. "Neither do you need to bring a Bible to church.

"You have it in the local language of your choice on your phone."

Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa versions of the Bible have long been in existence and date from the time of the first missionaries to Nigeria in the 19th century.

Pidgin - the widely spoken patois heard throughout the country - is only a more recent addition.

The pidgin version of the New Testament was formally launched last year by the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Facebook inspiration

Sowole cites Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as his guiding light.

"Zuckerberg is my hero and I get my inspiration from him. I am towing his line," he added.

He set about developing the apps in April last year and by October had finished his task.

Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa versions have both the Old and New Testament, while the pidgin app only has the latter for now.

One of the most famous Bible passages, John 3:16-17, reads in English: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

In pidgin, it translates as: "Bikos God luv di pipol wey dey dis wold wel-wel, E kon send di onli pikin wey E get to us, so dat enibodi wey biliv am, nor go die, bot e go get life wey nor dey end.

"God nor send en pikin kom kondem di pipol wey dey insaid di wold, bot mak e kom save dem."

A Nigerian Bill Gates?

Sowole's effort won him the best student app category of a competition organised by Nigeria's largest mobile phone service provider, MTN, and a one million naira ($6,200, 4,475 euro) prize.

Certainly, the app has a ready market: Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation with some 170 million people. Evangelical churches dominate the south and religion frames everyday life.

As of February this year, there were some 126 million mobile phone subscriptions, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The growth in telecoms this month saw the government include the sector in the country's revised gross domestic product calculations for the first time.

But Sowole does not have his eyes on profitability for now. The apps are available to download for free at wazobiabible.com

"I entered the competition to make many people know about my app project, my IT skills and my God-given talent," said the student, the son of a retired oil worker father and a trader mother.

The accolade and resulting publicity has made him a star on campus and plaudits from his lecturers.

"We were all happy for him that he won the prize," said one of his classmates, Tayo Jabar.

"He is humble and not in any way arrogant. We love him for the fact that he is still the same person even after he has acquired fame."

Sowole is now working to develop other smartphone applications to suit the Nigerian market, convinced the country could one day provide the world with the next technology tycoon.

"I believe I have not really achieved much. I believe we can have another Bill Gates and other IT giants among the Nigerian youths. I can be one," he added.
Read more on:    facebook  |  technolgy  |  religion  |  mobile
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
-13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Violet the puppy loves playing Cat Fishing 2 on the iPad!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more receptive...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.