William Anderson was a pioneer missionary among the Griquas of South Africa. Born in London of Scottish parents, Anderson was one of the second party of London Missionary Society (LMS) volunteers to go to South Africa, arriving in 1800. In 1801 he went north of the Orange River, joining Johannes Kircherer who was working among the Khoisan. However, he soon began to work with the people of many tribes who were gathering around the settlements established by two Cape Coloured clans, the Koks and the Waterboers, who came to call themselves Griquas. In 1806 he married Johanna Schonke, from Stellenbosch, who joined him in the work. The Griquas built their own churches and schools with Anderson’s help. People who sought to join the community were expected to join the church. In 20 years the Griquas became a self-governing Christian mini-state beyond the Cape Colony frontier. In 1820 Anderson was transferred by the LMS to Pacaltsdorp, back in the colony, to begin a more traditional but still successful and effective mission station. In 1848 his wife died, and he retired from the service of the LMS. He spent his final years at Pacaltsdrop.
Andrew C. Ross
Peter S. Anderson, Weapons of Peace: The Story of William and Johanna Anderson (1994); Robert Ross, Adam Kok’s Griquas (1976). Many letters to and from Anderson are in the LMS archives housed in the SOAS library, Univ. of London.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.