Choose your country and language:
WWith freedom of religion enshrined in our constitution, all the world's major religions have places of worship in the country, as do some lesser-known ones.
Christianity is represented by most of the Western mainstream denominations - Catholic, Anglican and Protestant - along with their affiliated groups such as Methodist, Congregationalist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Adventist, and Dutch Reformed or Nederlandse Gereformeerde.
Some more recent charismatic and Pentecostal additions, such as the high-profile Rhema Church, the Apostolic Faith Mission and the Assemblies of God, are also found in the country. Smaller groups of Eastern Orthodox branches, such as the Greek Orthodox Church, also offer places of worship around South Africa.
The vast majority of South Africans belong to African Independent Churches, which combine traditional ancestor beliefs with Christianity. The Zion Christian Church is the largest of these. Over weekends you may see groups of African Independent Church worshippers in green, blue or white robes holding prayer meetings at riversides or in open fields, as their places of worship are connected to natural areas.
Some South African places of worship are also revered for their historical significance. This includes Soweto's Regina Mundi Catholic Church, which sheltered anti-apartheid activists during the freedom struggle, and the Anglican Church of Christ the King in Sophiatown, where Archbishop Trevor Huddleston took a stand against oppression.
OOther places are renowned for their spectacular architecture, such as St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, with its impressive stained-glass windows, and the Mormon Temple in Johannesburg, with its six spires that light up the night sky.
Places of worship in South Africa also include several Islamic mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues and facilities accommodating the Baha'i and Hare Krishna faiths. Bronkhorstspruit, near Pretoria, houses the Nan Hua Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Africa.
DDid you know?
All the religions represented in the country celebrate their respective holidays. These include Id al-Fitr in the Islamic faith, Diwali in the Hindu faith, Yom Kippur in the Jewish faith, and Christmas and Easter in the Christian faith. While only the Christian holidays are public holidays in the country, followers of the other faiths are permitted time off from work to celebrate their special days and festivals. Some venues around the country also host open, public events to mark these celebrations, such as the Hindu Festival of Lights.
- Union of Orthodox Synagogues
- SA Union of Progressive Judaism
- Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
- Rhema Church