Enoch Mankayi Sontonga

SONTONGA, Enoch Mankayi. b. ca. 1873; d. 18 April 1905. The short, but significant life of Enoch Sontonga, from the Mpinga clan (Xhosa), began in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, around 1873. Like Bokwe* and Soga*, he may have been educated as a teacher at the Lovedale Mission. He was then sent to a Methodist Mission school in Nancefield, near Johannnesburg, to teach. Working as a choirmaster, Sontonga wrote the text and the music of his most famous hymn and the best known hymn in all of Africa, ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’ (‘God Bless Africa’), in 1897. ‘Nkosi’ was first sung in public at the ordination of a Methodist minister, Rev Boweni, in 1899. Sontonga’s choir, as well as other choirs,...

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