Freemasonry South Africa
Freemasonry has a long history in South Africa. The oldest Lodge under the Grand Lodge of South Africa was established in 1772.
Freemasonry is many centuries old, the most commonly accepted theory being that it originated back in medieval times when the great cathedrals of Europe were built. The stonemasons who created these magnificent Gothic structures formed craft guilds to protect the secrets of their trade, to help one another and to pass on their knowledge to worthy apprentices.
Freemasonry which was founded in the Netherlands in 1756, was expanding rapidly and, with many masters of ships being Freemasons, it was natural for a Lodge to be founded at this halfway station under the banner of the Grand East of the Netherlands (G.E.N.). The eyes of the G.E.N. were focussed on the Cape as early as 1764 and in 1771 Brother Abraham van der Weijde, the captain of a sailing vessel plying between Holland and the East Indies, was appointed Deputy Grand Master Abroad, with the necessary authority to found Lodges, subject to subsequent ratification by Grand Lodge. He arrived at the Cape on the 24th April 1772 and called a meeting of Brethren, to which ten Brethren responded under his chairmanship. Ten days later he issued a warrant for the founding of Lodge De Goede Hoop (Lodge Good Hope) as Lodge No. 12 on the register of the G.E.N., which was ratified on 1st September 1772.
As early as 1875 there were calls for a United Grand Lodge to be formed, where all Masons would be able to find a home. Again in 1892 there was a similar move but when 500 Masons gathered in Kimberley for that purpose, the proposal to form a United Grand Lodge was defeated by a small majority. Similar initiatives were started again later but all to no avail. As a result there are many Freemasonry masonic lodges in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg and across South Africa.
No Freemason is ever asked to perform any task or take any oath which may conflict with his duties to his God, his family or as a citizen. Freemasonry is not a religion, but it demands that every member believe in a power greater than man. It does not focus solely on charity, but strongly promotes charitable activities and encourages members to contribute to those less fortunate than themselves. It is certainly not politically motivated, but it expects its members to play a meaningful role in society.
Freemasonry’s aim is to improve the world we live in by uplifting the moral and spiritual standards of the men living in it.
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