William Wellington Gqoba (1840–88) was prominent among the African intellectuals emerging in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa towards the end of the nineteenth century.
By trade he was a wagonmaker, licensed preacher of the Free Church of Scotland, teacher, historian, poet, folklorist and editor. For much of his brief life he served on mission stations as a catechist, and ended his career as editor of the Lovedale newspaper Isigidimi sama-Xosa, to which he contrived to contribute subversive poetry outspokenly critical of Western education, the European administration of black people and the discrimination suffered by colonised blacks. Gqoba fashioned the figure of the Xhosa man of letters. Unrivalled in his time in the generic range of his writing, he was the author of letters, anecdotes, expositions of proverbs, histories and poetry, including two poems in the form of debates that stood for over fifty years as the longest poems in the Xhosa language.