Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Magaya, Edward Tolityi

African Methodist Episcopal Church
South Africa

The Rev. Edward Tolityi Magaya (?-August 25, 1924) was a prominent member of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. He played an important role in the development of the now famous Wilberforce Teacher Training Institute at Evaton in the Transvaal.

Magaya was born in Cape Province in the latter half of the 19th century. He was among the African students who were selected by the AME Church as members of the African choir which toured Europe, Canada, and the United States before the end of the 19th century. At the end of the tour he remained in the U.S. to further his studies at Lincoln University, where he subsequently received degrees of bachelor of arts and bachelor of divinity.

Upon his return to South Africa, he was appointed first principal of the Wilberforce Institute after its post South African War re-opening on February 5, 1917. It was at this time in his life that he married Eleanor Faku, the daughter of an Anglican minister.

Until his death at Evaton in 1924, he served as principal of Wilberforce, as well as pastor of the Ndojela circuit of the AME Church, while also helping in the preparation of candidates for the ministry of his church.

He set standards of excellence, self-sacrifice, and commitment in his work at the Wilberforce Institute, which contributed significantly to the reputation of Wilberforce from the 1920s to the 1960s, as the leading center of African teacher training and post-secondary education in South Africa.

Stephen Shiszwe Hlophe


T.D. Mweli Skota, The African Yearly Register, Johannesburg: R.L. Esson and Co. Ltd, 1932; T.D. Mweli Skota, The African Who’s Who, Johannesburg: Central News Agency, 1965.

This article was reprinted from The Encyclopaedia Africana Dictionary of African Biography (In 20 Volumes). Volume Three: South Africa- Botswana-Lesotho-eswatini. Ed. Keith Irvine. Algonac, Michigan: Reference Publications Inc., 1995. All rights reserved.