Leader of the first major secessionist church in South Africa, Tile was born in Tembuland in the Transkei and received some formal education at Boloto. He became a lay preacher and in 1880 was ordained minister in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, after studying theology for a period at Healdtown. Tile's influence over his congregation was strong, and he soon had a falling out with his European superior, who was critical of his involvement in Tembu political and tribal affairs. Tile then left the Wesleyans and in 1884 established his own Tembu Church, with the co-operation of Ngangelizwe, the Tembu paramount. The church survived despite Tile's death in 1885.