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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


MOTHOAGAE, Itumeleng Daniel  y  SEMENYA, Boshadi Mary. The operation of memory in translation: on Moffat's desecration of the Batswana linguistic heritage in the production of the 1857 English-Setswana Bible. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2015, vol.41, n.3, pp.44-62. ISSN 2412-4265.

The translation of the Bible into Setswana stands out in the history of the 19th century missionaries' project to expand Christian religion among the Batlhaping of South Africa. While the translation of the 1857 English-Setswana Bible into Setswana can be regarded as a revolutionary achievement, unsettling questions are raised that centre on issues of standardisation of Setswana; whose interests were served, tensions around representation and justice, and preservation of semantic and stylistic equivalences. Progressing from the idea that translation is neither just an act that is neutral or an instance nor product, but a complex activity during which the translator transmits cultural and ideological messages, we seek to argue in this paper that the production of the 1857 English-Setswana Bible by Moffat is an exemplar of a product caught up in aforementioned seductions of translating. With an understanding that memory is an important tool and force in the accomplishment of translations of texts, decolonial epistemic perspective is deployed to unmask the manner in which coloniality of knowledge operated in the process of translating the 1857 English-Setswana Bible, leading to a desecration of the linguistic heritage of Batswana. In addition, we illustrate how Moffat as a primary beneficiary and supporter of the institution of imperialism and its systemic violence, renders Batswana invisible in the creation of the 1857 English-Setswana Bible and displaces them as legitimate bearers of their own historical and cultural memory.

Palabras clave : Colonisation; decoloniality; 1857 English-Setswana Bible; identity; memory; translation; racial classification; representational justice.

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