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Soga, Tiyo (1829–1871)

  1. Kehinde Olabimtan

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1282

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Olabimtan, K. 2011. Soga, Tiyo (1829–1871). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Tiyo Soga was a South African minister of the Scottish Presbyterian Mission. The son of an influential counselor to the Ngqika chief Sandile, among the Xhosa of Eastern Cape, he was born near Chumie Presbyterian station and had his early education in their school. The emerging colonial dispensation saw young South Africans converging in Xhosa land at this time to take up job opportunities at Port Elizabeth and other private establishments opening in the colony. Some of them used the missions' night schools to improve and position themselves for advantage in the unfolding scheme of events. This was the milieu in which Tiyo Soga was born and nurtured by mission. His leadership potential came to the notice of the missionaries, who enlisted him among the first 11 African students in the multiracial Lovedale Institute when it opened in 1841. When returning home in 1846 for a visit, the first principal of the institute, William Govan, took along the gifted Xhosa boy to continue his education in Scotland. There Soga studied theology, received ordination as the first black minister from South Africa, and married Janet Burnside, a Scot.


  • Soga, Tiyo (1829–1871);
  • South african minister, scottish presbyterian mission;
  • african intellectual churchman