Hausa Isn't Enough | Wycliffe Bible Translators

Hausa Isn't Enough

The Ahwai of Nigeria want to understand Scripture more deeply

  • January 11, 2016
Beginning Work

The Ahwai live in the southeastern corner of Kaduna State, Nigeria, around the mountain upon which their ancestors lived in the first half of the 20th century. They are made up of three sub-groups — Anyeng, Andung and Sakara — who all speak the same language, Ahwai, which means "friends."

The Ahwai are subsistence farmers, raising livestock and crops such as corn, yams, okra, ground nuts, and various kinds of greens. They live in mud-brick houses with tin or thatched grass roofs. Usually, the Ahwai marry within their own sub-group. Intermarriage within the whole Ahwai group is also common, which bodes well for the vitality of their culture and language.

There are primary and secondary schools in the Ahwai villages, but no Ahwai textbooks. Education in the early grades is in Hausa, a trade language, while older students are instructed in English.


With regard to religion, Christianity is predominant. Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ missionaries from South Africa brought Christianity to the area in the 1920s. Since then, the number of churches of different denominations has grown significantly.

Although the majority of Ahwai are Christians, these 18,000 people do not have God's Word in their heart language.

One pastor expressed his opinion that the translation would be really useful for native clergy, so their preaching would spring from real, meaningful understanding. Although the Sunday services are usually held in Hausa, the local pastors realize that Hausa isn't enough to build a sufficient understanding of the Scriptures. They see it is important that the people receive the Scriptures in their language for their own personal spiritual growth and for their life changing impact.

  • Please pray for the nominal Ahwai Christians to develop a deeper relationship with God through a meaningful, life-changing understanding of the Scriptures, and for the non-Christians to come to know the Lord.

  • Pray that the Ahwai people will make a decision to start a language development and Bible translation project.

  • Pray too, that they will successfully come to consensus on which dialect to use as the reference dialect, and select the right people to be trained for the work.

  • Pray that God would strengthen and encourage Ahwai churches and believers.

Make a Prayer Connection: Send an online prayer note to encourage Iris Clement, a new Wycliffe member training to be on the Nigeria language survey team. Language surveyors are greatly needed!