When Pope Francis came to Uganda in 2015, Simon Peter Mukhama published a bilingual bible in Spanish and English that was presented to the Pope by President Museveni. Even if he has never given birth, Mukhama says the moment felt like giving birth.
“I was privileged to be in Rome at the time and later learn that the Pope was coming to Uganda before the country knew.”
It is then that he decided to think of something to give, having noticed the Pope had difficulty speaking English, and he imagined a bilingual Bible would be ideal.
“I started working and it was later printed in Brazil; the total cost for making the two Bibles was Shs1.2m.” Mukhama recalls. This he notes is the greatest and most remarkable moment for him as the general secretary of the Bible Society.
Mukhama, is the current chief executive officer, Bible Society Uganda and has been serving as the CEO of the Bible Society for 10 years.
His role as the general secretary is to ensure that everyone engages with the Bible in a language they understand best.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to have the Bible in your own local language? Currently, the Bible Society has been able to translate the Bible into about 20 local languages and in various branches of the country. This, he notes, is a great milestone because the Bible is able to be availed to various individuals even in the rural areas.
In line with making the Bible available to everyone, Mukhama launched a braille Bible for the blind, although it is divided according to the various books in the Bible.
“Hearing the blind tell you that I was blind but now I can see because of a braille Bible is a humbling moment for him,” he says with a smile.
A Bible for everyone
Through such various projects, the blind have been included in various church activities because they now have a Bible they can read and easily comprehend. There is so much to the Bible and Mukhama explores all that while ensuring that every individual and age group is catered for according to their likes and preferences.
In a bid to extend Bible engagement and inclusion, a handwritten Bible was introduced, which required various individuals to write a verse of the Bible.
This project, Mukhama says, is aimed at raising funds towards the construction of a new Bible House. The handwritten Bible has been done by prominent individuals such as the Kabaka of Buganda, the Chief Justice, among others and everyone that writes a verse pays Shs100, 000. The youngest writer so far is a four-year-old from Clevers’ Origin Primary School and the oldest was 117 years from Soroti although he is now deceased.
All these projects, Mukhama says, are ways of engaging the public and to ensure that many people engage and own Bibles in a hearty way.
Currently, they are digital with various tools that make the Bible accessible such as a pocket light stream, audio scriptures on memory cards, the proclaimer, gospel films among many other platforms that enable people, especially those in rural areas to listen to the gospel.
Mukhama hopes to reach as many people as possible to appreciate the Bible and own one too in a language of their choice. He has also published a bilingual Bible in Luganda and English so that it is easier for one to interpret what they read from Luganda into English and vice versa.
Mukhama is married with four children. He was born and raised in Mbale. Growing up, he was involved in youth leadership and activities in church. He went to Nabumali Primary School, Nabumali High School before joining Makere University where he attained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
He then attained a Masters degree in Business Administration and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Business Administration majoring in leadership at Walden University in the USA.