“Letter of Gratitude from a Kafir Woman”

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0001 54 Letter of Gratitude from a Kafir Woman.

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Letter of Gratitude from a Kafir Woman

The letter “T” rendered in a highly ornate fashion.

This letter, which we extract, in part, from the United Presbyterian Missionary Record, is of remarkable interest. It was written, in her own language, by the old mother of the late Rev. Tiyo Soga, a Kafir, who, after his conversion to Christianity, was sent to Scotland to be educated, and afterwards went back to his own country, the first ordained Kafir minister who had preached the Gospel. His mother now writes to the good people in Scotland thus :—

"Emgwali, October, 1873.

"My Kind Friends,—For a long time I have wished to thank


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0003 56 Letter of Gratitude from a Kafir Woman.

you for what you have done for me. Beloved friends, to-day I thank you for what you have done for my son and for myself. I thank you for what he was taught, and for what he was prepared for, by your means. From the beginning you acted with great wisdom towards him, and thereby conferred privileges and marvellous blessings upon us all. You opened up every path for him by which he was directed in the way of salvation, and which you also showed unto his people as well as to himself and to his family.

"Beloved, your work to my son I represent with the words which were said respecting man: The Creator first prepared a place for man before He created him. When He had finished all that was right for man, He created him, and placed him in the midst of every advantage. His commandment instructed him, like him who has departed. Thus it was so.

"What can I speak to you? Dearly beloved, that which you began did you not finish? You gave the blood of your blood* to my son. I have seen it with my own eyes. That event taught us to know your habits, your disposition, and your speech. That great event united us very closely together. In effect it seemed to say to my son: 'Tiyo Soga, go, take this great enlightener amongst your countrymen.' My friends, what can I say to you? He is gone to the place prepared for him[,] look there for him! Pardon me in referring to this matter. Beloved, what gift can be more highly esteemed than this? Rejoice, beloved! we also rejoice with the Churches in Scotland. Rejoice ye! Canzibe, the bright, the morning star of spring, has already risen upon Africa. The first teacher belonging to our countrymen was sent forth by you. Be glad, ye people of Caffraria! Amaxosa, the first home of my son, now lying desolate and forlorn, speaks of your laborious toil. Rejoice ye! These five gum trees still standing remind me that, while the desolate and deserted homes of our countrymen are covered with the couch grass, it is not so with respect to that in which my son abides this day. His home is now far distint from these gum trees. Vain, then, is it for you to care so much, and to be so anxious for the things of this world.    .    .    .    .    .    .

"My beloved friends, what more can I say? I conclude * Referring to his marriage. 0004 [                                          ] 57 with respectful salutations. Oh, pray for me to the Lord, my friends, that when I reach that day which has neither a yesterday nor a to-morrow—a day which has no end—I may receive strength to sustain me in my unutterable weakness.—May you live happy!

"Nosutu Soga Jotelo."

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Item Details

Author(s) & contributor(s): Anonymous; NoSuthu

Date(s): October 1873; 1 May 1874

Form & transmission history: Excerpt from original letter, as dictated to a Xhosa individual, then conveyed to and translated by a British missionary and published as part of an essay in a British missionary periodical.

Original publication details: Wesleyan Juvenile Offering: A Miscellany of Missionary Info, no. 89 (1 May 1874): 54, 56

Digital edition & date: One More Voice, 2020

Critical editing & encoding: Anne M. Martin, Adrian S. Wisnicki

Cite this digital edition (MLA): Anonymous; NoSuthu. “‘Letter of Gratitude from a Kafir Woman’” (October 1873; 1 May 1874). Anne M. Martin, Adrian S. Wisnicki, eds. One More Voice, site launch edition, 2020, https://onemorevoice.org/html/transcriptions/liv_020018_TEI.html.

Rights: Critically-edited text copyright One More Voice. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Explore complete/original item: Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals, Part II: Empire

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