Original Research

Tiyo Soga (1829–1871) at the intersection of ‘universes in collision’

Graham A. Duncan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a4862 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.4862 | © 2018 Graham A. Duncan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2017 | Published: 26 March 2018

About the author(s)

Graham A. Duncan, Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Tiyo Soga, the first black minister ordained in Scotland by the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1856, was, by any standards, a conflicted character. He stood both in and between two worlds and suffered from the vulnerability that emerged from his dual allegiances. Yet he made a significant contribution to the mission history of South Africa, particularly through his early influence on the development of black consciousness and black nationalism, which were to make significant contributions to black thinking in the 20th century. Soga’s life and ministry are set in the context of Michael Ashley’s concept of ‘universes in collision’.


Black consciousness; black nationalism; John Chalmers; Mgwali; symbolic universes; Tiyo Soga; Tutura; ‘universes in collision’; Wars of Dispossession


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