Soga, Mina Tembeka
South African mission advocate.
Soga was born in the Queenstown district of the Eastern Cape. After a Scottish Presbyterian mission education, she became a schoolteacher, fully involved (though unmarried) in the social life of the community. She attended the 1938 Tambaram meeting of the International Missionary Council as an official delegate, the first African woman to represent the continent at a world missionary conference. She made a notable contribution to the conference on the theme of the Africanization of the inner life of the church, which to her was a clear priority. From Tambaram she journeyed via the Red Sea and Egypt to the United States, where she brought a forceful message about the deprivation of black South Africans. After her return to Africa from the United States, she continued to work in the Eastern Cape as teacher and social worker, concerning herself especially with the plight of blind Africans.
Soga’s mission thinking is reflected in her article “The need for the Missionary Today: His Place and Function,” IRM 28 (1939): 217-220. Her biography was written by Ruth I. Seabury, Daughter of Africa (1954). Her missiological contribution is discussed by E. Utuk, From New York to Ibadan: The Impact of African Questions on the Making of Ecumenical Mission Mandates, 1900 - 1958 (1991).
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.