Reverend George Champion was born in the state of Connecticut, United States in 1810. After graduating from Yale University, Champion joined the American Board for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in 1833 and in 1834 was appointed along with five other missionaries to undertake missionary work in South Africa. The missionaries and their wives sailed from Boston, Massachusetts to Cape Town on 3 December 1834 and arrived in the Cape on 5 February 1835.
On 20 December 1835 Revs Champion, Aldin Grout and Newton Adams arrived in Port Natal (present-day Durban) from Cape Town on “The Dove” and proceeded to the capital of Dingane at Mgungundhlovu to obtain the Zulu king’s permission to work among his subjects. Despite Dingane’s indunas voicing some objections to their presence in Zululand, the king in August 1936 allowed Champion and Grout to open a mission station, on a site chosen by Dingane himself, on the Umsunduzi River. The station was subsequently named “Nginani” (I am with thee).
Following the destruction of the mission station at Nginani in the fighting between the Zulus and the Boers, who arrived in Natal following the Great Trek, Champion returned to the United States in 1839. He died in 1841.
- Williamson, M. (1970).
- Booth, A. R., & Struik, C., eds (1967). The Journal of the Rev. George Champion: American Missionary in Zululand 1835-1839, Cape Town, p. viii
- Tabler, E.C., & Balkema, A.A. (1977). Pioneers of Natal and southeastern Africa. 1552-1878. Cape Town, p. 21.