Introduction / History
The Ila people live in east-central Zambia along the bend of the Kafue River. In the heart of their homeland is a rock on which, they say, is the footprint of all creatures including humans. The Ila say that God dropped man at that spot and from there they started migrating in other directions.
Most Ila grow enough food to feed their families and to cover expenses for physical needs and their children's educational expenses. More educational and career opportunities are available in the larger towns and village centers. Some Ila raise animals such as chickens, goats, or pigs on a small scale, and occasionally cows, though that is usually for tradition and prestige. In fact, the belief that cows are a sign of wealth and value undergirds an Ila funeral tradition. The funeral ceremony lasts several days. On the seventh day after burial, cows are slaughtered. It is believed that the more that are killed, the greater the value of the dead person in the eyes of the community. Afterward, everyone goes home with enough meat to compensate for the time spent at the funeral.
Many Ila describe themselves as Christians, but the Ila are without a clear translation in their language. Ten chiefs have voiced a desire to have a new translation. One even stepped forward as a reviewer. A translation team including local Ila churches is bringing that desire closer to reality. Team members are working on a complete translation of the New Testament that will bring the truth of the Gospel to the Ila people.
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