Africa by London Missionary Society. From 1820 at “New Lattakoo,” and from 1825 at Kuruman, he set himself doggedly to learn the Tswana language. Yet what a difficult task language study was in those days, when each man had to learn by himself, without any books, and without even a teacher who knew English – a far slower, arduous, tentative and uncertain discipline than study Tswana today. This story takes us back to 1816, the year when Robert Moffat was sent to

Before many years had passed, however, he had produced a Tswana catechism and some Gospel portions, and by the end of 1829 he had finished translating Luke’s Gospel. But where could he get it printed? He journeyed to Cape Town, but found to suitable printing facilities. Finally he obtained the permission of the Governor of the Cape, Sir Lowry Cole, to use the Government Printing Office, “where, as he could obtain no compositor, he set the type with his own hands,” under the superintendence of Mr. B.J van de Sandt. This book, Evangelia kotsa Masuku a Molemo a Kuariloeng ki Luka, has two pages of explanations of explanations of difficult words at the back. Its printing was facilitated by a grant of paper from the British and Foreign Bible in the language of the Batswana.

When Moffat left Cape Town to return to Kuruman, he was the possessor of a real prize, “a valuable iron press, so suitable for climate,” which John Philip presented to him and his colleague Edwards for their use. He had also founts of type and a quantity of paper and ink. This small iron press had been shipped out from England in 1825. Moffat set up in a small room in his house, and on this for years him, Edwards, Hamilton and Ashton produced Tswana literature. In 1916, it was rescued from oblivion and installed in the Kimberley Library, although by that time the type had all disappeared. This must be one of the more noble small presses in the world, the instrument of some of the most remarkable publication work in Africa, as the following record indicates.

On the 3rd of July 1838 Moffat finished the first draft of the whole New Testament in Tswana, and at the end of that year he travelled to Cape Town with a view to getting it printed. But again the printing establishments there