Classic DACB Collection

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

Makiwane, Elijah (B)

United Free Church of Scotland
South Africa

The Rev. Elijah Makiwane (1850-1939) was a minister, a journalist, and one of the founders of the Cape Native Teacher’s Association.

He was born at Sheshegu, in the district of Alice, in Cape Province. He entered Lovedale College in 1865, where he became the first Xhosa to qualify in theology. In 1875, a year before he took over the editorship of the Lovedale Mission newspaper, Isigidimi samaXhosa (‘The Xhosa Messenger”), he was ordained in the United Free Church of Scotland. He was succeeded as editor in 1881 by John TengoJabavu. In 1882 he helped in the formation of the Cape Native Teachers Association. An active member of the organization, he was also its president for most of his life.

Under his stringent leadership, the association adopted new ways to counter oppressive conditions by means of negotiations and deputations. In addition to serving as pastor of the Free Church of Scotland and as president of the Teachers Association, he also served as an administrator of schools, and as manager or grantee of schools. Under his leadership the association became militant, concerning itself with the rights of all citizens. Although the Cape government felt that at times the association made unacceptable demands, it continued to negotiate with it as a peacekeeping measure. The association was led by a number of missionary-trained Africans from various mission institutions of which Lovedale was the most important. From the early 1870s on, there began to emerge from these mission institutions a new African elite, educated and articulate, and destined to be active both in Christian work and in Cape political life. Those who were church ministers advised their African followers to lay down their arms and settle their disputes by negotiation. The followers were made to believe that taking up a spear or picking up a gun for war was a sin. This change strengthened the trend toward peaceable negotiation after a period in which there had been a tradition of Xhosa wars in the Cape.

Makiwane died at an undetermined time in the 1930s. His daughter, Florence Thandiswa Makiwane, married D.D.T. Jabavu, a professor at Fort Hare College, and the son of John Tengo Jabavu.

Molapatene Ramusi


Gwendolen Carter and Thomas Karis, From Protest to Challenge, A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1964. 4 vols. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1984; Eric Rosenthal, Bantu Journalism in South Africa, Johannesburg: Society of the Friends of Africa; Francis Wilson and Dominique Perrot, Outlook on a Century: South Africa (1870-1970). Lovedale: Lovedale Press, 1973.

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.