Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tiyo Soga's descendant on SATV

Hector Soga, a descendant of Tiyo Soga, made a brief SATV appearance on the evening of 9 September 2011.  As part of Heritage Month, a memorial to Hector's famous ancestor was unveiled in the Nkonkobe Local Municipality, Amathole.

Tiyo Soga (c 1829-1871) was the first black South African to be ordained as minister in the United Presbyterian Church. He was the grandson of Jotello Soga of the Xhosa. Tiyo's mother was a converted Christian and sent him to the local mission school; he subsequently attended Lovedale and when his education was interrupted by the frontier wars was taken to Scotland in 1846 for religious instruction. In 1848 he returned to South Africa to assist in establishing a Mission Station but when the 8th Frontier War broke out Tiyo returned to Scotland, where he was ordained in December 1856. He married a Scottish yarn winder, Janet Burnside, at Govan in February 1857 and returned to South Africa to found a Mission Station at Thuthuru.

He translated the Gospels into Xhosa as well as part of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; his son John Henderson Soga (1860-1941), also a missionary, completed this translation. Tiyo Soga served on the board which revised the Xhosa Bible. Of his seven children, the eldest, William Anderson Soga, attended Glasgow University and became a medical missionary; William married Mary Agnes Meikle in 1885 and established the Miller Mission in Transkei where he worked until 1903. John Henderson Soga trained for the ministry in Edinburgh, qualifying in 1893 and returned to South Africa to establish a mission at Mbonda. Tiyo's son Jotello Festiri Soga (1856-1906) was the first South African-born black veterinary surgeon, and after he qualified in 1886 returned to South Africa where he did research on animal diseases - particularly the rinderpest - in the Eastern Cape border region. Tiyo Soga was 42 when he died in August 1871. John A Chalmers wrote the story of Tiyo Soga's life, Tiyo Soga: A Page of South African Mission Work published in Edinburgh 1877.

Tiyo Soga

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