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Ntsikana: His Great Hymn and His Enduring Legacy on Black Consciousness

Janet Hodgson
Ntsikana: His Great Hymn and His Enduring Legacy on Black Consciousness
ISBN: 978-1-928246-59-6
2023/219 pages
Distributed for Best Red, an imprint of HSRC Press


Janet Hodgson traces the life of Xhosa prophet Ntsikana (1780–1821) from his birth through his years as a Christian convert, evangelist, and composer of enduring hymns.

Ntsikana is known as one of the first Christians to adapt Christian ideas to African culture, writing hymns in isiXhosa and translating concepts into terms that resonated with his Xhosa community. Even today, his hymns are among the most important in the amaXhosa churches, and he is regarded as an important symbol of both African unity and Black Consciousness.


Janet Hodgson is author of numerous books on topics ranging from African studies to Native American studies to liberation theology.


  • Preface—Dave Dargie.
  • Historical Background.
  • Ntsikana's Early Spiritual Experiences.
  • Carriers of Change: Moving From Old to New.
  • Preaching and Prayers at Thwatwa.
  • Prophecies Attributed to Ntsikana.
  • Joseph Williams and the Kat River Mission, 1816–18.
  • Leadership and Teaching.
  • The Songs of Ntsikana.
  • The "Great Hymn" as Praise Poetry.
  • An African Expression of Christianity: Old and New in the "Great Hymn."
  • Music in Ntsikana's Songs.
  • Ntsikana’s Last Days, 1821.
  • Photo Gallery.
  • Soga: A Leading Disciple, Patriot, and Peasant Farmer.
  • Dukwana: A Son's Struggle for Liberation.
  • The Ntsikana Tradition, Late 19th Century.
  • The Founding Decades, 1880s to 1920s.
  • The Growth of Black Consciousness.
  • Ntsikana as a Symbol of African Unity.
  • The St. Ntsikana Memorial Association, 1909–80.
  • Political Upheavals.
  • The Ntsikana Memorial Church, 1911–1950s.
  • The Ups and Downs of the Ntsikana Memorial Church, 1950s–1980s.
  • Ntsikana's Enduring Influence on Literature and Music.
  • Epilogue.