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The Life and Ministry of Tiyo Soga

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In volume 5 of his History of the Expansion of Christianity, Kenneth Scott Latourette writes a single sentence about Tiyo Soga, calling him “an outstanding product of the Presbyterian missions” in South Africa.1 Indeed, he was. Tiyo Soga was the first black South African to be educated overseas, the first black South African to be ordained overseas, and the subject of the first biography of a black South African.2 According to a modern African scholar, Tiyo Soga was “the most prominent African of his time.”3
Tiyo Soga’s father was the husband of eight wives, and the father of thirty-nine children. Tiyo’s mother, Nosutu, had nine children, of whom Tiyo was the seventh. He was born in 1829 at Mgwali on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. His mother gave him the name Sani, which means “what bringest thou?” His father changed his name to Tiyo, for a hero of his people. Nosutu became a Christian; her husband, Old Soga, was at best a nominal Christian. . .

David B. Calhoun

David B. Calhoun, (1937-2021) was Professor Emeritus of Church History at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.  A minister of the Presbyterian Church in America, he has taught at Covenant College, Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University), and Jamaica Bible College (where he was also principal).  Calhoun has served with Ministries in Action in the West Indies and in Europe and as dean of the Iona Centres for Theological Study.  He was a board member (and for some years president) of Presbyterian Mission International, a mission board that assists nationals who are Covenant Seminary graduates to return to their homelands for ministry.


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