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Founded in 1857 by Rev. Soga, the church building was completed and opened on 23 July 1861. He remained there until 1868. The context was one of resentment and suspicion. This seriously hampered his work, because the missionary task had virtually been subsumed under the colonial project. His ministry began in the aftermath of the cattle killing tragedy, which had a particularly devastating effect on the Mgwali area.

In 1857 Soga returned to the Eastern Cape with his wife where they eventually founded the Mgwali Mission where Soga worked among his native Ngqika people. During their years in Mgwali the Soga’s had eight children, one of whom was stillborn.

Two of their sons – William Anderson Soga and John Henderson Soga – followed their father and were ordained as ministers and missionaries, and two of their daughters – Isabella McFarlane Soga and Francis Maria Anna Soga – were employed as teachers in mission.

Kirkland Allan Soga, studied law at University of Glasgow and became the first black lawyer in South Africa, and a politician involved in the founding of the African National Congress. His fourth son was Jotello Festiri Soga, the first black veterinary surgeon in South Africa. 

The youngest daughter born just a year before Soga died, Jessie Margaret Soga became a classic contralto soloist and teacher studying in Milan and a licenciate of the Royal College of Music, London and a leading suffragist. Janet Soga returned to England for the births of all her children.