Tag Archives: Glasgow Missionary Society

Earliest African Student

The University of Glasgow started to welcome its first students from African countries from the middle of the nineteenth century.

Tiyo Soga : a page of South African mission work by John A. Chalmers.

Our first African student was Tiyo Soga, the son of a Xhosa-speaking chief from South Africa. He was sent to Glasgow in 1846-48 and again in 1851, to study for ordination. He matriculated at the University in November 1851, attending classes in Greek and Latin.

Soga’s connection with Glasgow began back in South Africa as a student of Lovedale College, which was built by the Glasgow Missionary Society in 1824, and opened in 1841. The first principal of the College, Reverend William Govan, accompanied Soga to Glasgow in 1846.

On 10 December 1856 Tiyo Soga became the first black South African to be ordained in the United Presbyterian Church.

Soga returned to South Africa with his Scottish wife, where they had seven children, five of whom studied in Scotland.

Increased research activity has since led to greater interest in Glasgow as a place of study for Africans, and between 1880 and 1965, 1,046 students born in Africa matriculated at the University. Since then an average of over 130 a year have studied here.




Filed under Africa, Commonwealth of Nations, Glasgow Firsts