Richard MokoOctober 30, 2006
Richard Moko was a Xhosa who was the first Black ordained SDA minister in South Africa. Unfortunately, very little is known about his life and work–and some of what little information there is–is conflcting. He may have been a minister in the Congregational Church previously. Moko was baptised in the Kimberley in 1895 and granted a licence to preach in 1897. He worked mainly in the Eastern Cape at King William Town, East London, and various rural areas. He wrote the first tract that the SDA church in South Africa published—in 1895—in an African language (Xhosa).
There is a good article by Keith Tankard about one of Moko’s experiences as an evangelist online: Richard Moko: The Very Strange Case of an African Missionary.
The only other online information that I’m aware of is a copy of Moko’s entry in the SDA Encyclopedia which has been made available through the online Dictionary of African Christian Biography project here.
I scanned the above picture from the June 15, 1971 edition of the Trans-Africa Divison Outlook –apologies for its poor quality–I have not been able to find an original copy of the photo. Strangely enough, the article itself: “Journey into Yesterday: Our History–8” by Jean Cripps, p5-8; contains no information on Moko at all–despite the presence of his picture! A group picture taken c. 1907 of SDA Church workers in South Africa includes Moko. The picture is published February 15, 1971 edition of the Trans-Africa Divison Outlook across pages 6&7 in the article: “Napoleonic Wars Enrich Africa: Our History–4” by Jean Cripps, p5-8; but again no mention is made of Moko in the text.
J. B. Cooks “Richard Moko—First Indigenous Minister of our Church in South Africa”; (A 2 page paper available from the Adventist Heritage Centre at Helderberg College.) contains some information, though I’m not convinced of the correctness of much of its content.