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Portrait of Tiyo Soga

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y305N

Scope and Contents

A carte de visite albumen print portrait measuring 53 x 73 mm (oval). The print is mounted as the frontispiece to: Chalmers, John A (1877), Tiyo Soga : a page of South African mission work, Edinburgh, Andrew Elliot. The half-length portrait shows Tiyo Soga dressed in European clothes and seated beside a table with a book in one hand.

Soga (1829-1871) was the first black South African ordained as a Christian minister. Tiyo Soga's father was a counsellor in the Ngqika branch of the Xhosa people and his mother was a Christian convert. Trained at United Presbyterian Church of Scotland Mission Schools at Cape Town, and later at Lovedale from 1844-46, Soga went to Glasgow in 1846 and was baptised there in 1848. He returned to his evangelical work among the Xhosa from 1848-51, when he again visited Scotland and was ordained in 1856. The following year he married a Scottish woman, Janet Burnside, before opening a mission station for the Xhosa on the Mgwali River which he supervised until 1868. In that year he founded a Mission Station for Chief Sarili at (the later named) Somerville. Soga's early promise was cut short by his premature death but he did manage to complete the translation of the Gospels and the first part of Pilgrim's Progress into Xhosa.


  • 1865

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Photographer unknown.


1 item(s) (1 image)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

In fair condition, some fading and yellowing.


For another biography of Soga see: Williams, Donevan (1978), 'Umfundisi : a biography of Tiyo Soga, 1829-1871', South Africa : Lovedale Press.


This collection level description was entered by KS using information from the original typescript catalogue.



Includes index.
2003-09-16 16:16:40+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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