How Many Freemasons In South Africa

Freemasonry is an international fraternal organization which dates back to the 16th century. In South Africa, Freemasonry has been a part of its history and culture for many years. While there is no exact number of Freemasons in South Africa, it is estimated that there are anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 Freemasons currently living in the country. This makes South Africa one of the largest Masonic nations in the world. This article will provide an overview of Freemasonry in South Africa, including its history, current membership numbers, and more. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that traces its origins back to the stonemasons of the Middle Ages. It is a society of men characterized by high moral standards, fellowship, and a belief in a Supreme Being. Freemasons use rituals and symbols to teach ethical and moral lessons. Their themes are based on the building of a temple as an allegory for building one’s life according to high moral values. Freemasonry is open to men of all faiths who believe in a Supreme Being.


The history of Freemasonry in South Africa dates back to the early 19th century, when the first lodge was established. Since then, Freemasonry has had a long and varied history in the country, both as an important part of local culture and as a source of charitable support to those in need. This article will explore the history of Freemasonry in South Africa, from its humble beginnings to its current position as an important part of society.

Early History

The first recorded lodge in South Africa was established in Cape Town in 1809 by three members from England. This lodge, known as The Lodge of St. George, was initially composed mainly of British military personnel stationed at the time. As more people moved to South Africa during the 19th century, more lodges were formed across the country. By the end of the 19th century there were over 100 lodges spread across South Africa.

20th Century Developments

In 1906, a Grand Lodge was formed which unified all existing lodges in South Africa under one governing body. This allowed for greater collaboration between lodges and provided a platform for further growth and development within Freemasonry throughout the country. In 1910, a Supreme Council was also formed which provided additional support for Grand Lodge activities. During this period there were also several prominent Freemasons who made significant contributions to society such as Sir David Graaff who helped establish several important institutions such as universities and libraries throughout South Africa.

Modern Times

Today there are over 400 lodges spread across South Africa with membership ranging from men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Freemasonry continues to be an important part of society providing charitable support to those in need and promoting moral values such as integrity, charity and brotherly love among its members. There are also several organizations dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of Freemasonry throughout South Africa such as The Masonic Historical Society which works to promote education about Freemasonry both within South Africa and abroad.

Number of Freemasons in South Africa

Freemasonry is one of the oldest fraternal organisations in the world and it has been active in South Africa for over 200 years. The organisation has a long history of involvement in charity work, social activities and philanthropy. It is estimated that there are currently over 20,000 Freemasons in South Africa.

This number is made up of members from all the major Provinces in South Africa, as well as from smaller towns and cities. The largest Masonic body in South Africa is the United Grand Lodge of South Africa (UGLSA), which has been active since 1814.

The UGLSA is a recognised authority on Freemasonry and its members adhere to a strict code of conduct as well as to a set of moral principles and beliefs. The UGLSA also actively promotes charitable works throughout the country, including relief funds for those affected by natural disasters such as floods and fires, as well as providing assistance for various social causes.

The number of Freemasons in South Africa continues to grow each year, with many new initiates joining the organisation each year. This growth reflects an increasing interest among young people in the values and principles espoused by Freemasonry, such as brotherhood, justice, integrity and service to humanity.

Overall, the number of Freemasons in South Africa remains strong despite some challenges faced by the organisation such as declining membership numbers internationally. With its long history of involvement in community service projects, it is likely that Freemasonry will continue to be an important presence in South African society for many years to come.

How to Become a Freemason in South Africa

Becoming a Freemason in South Africa is a great opportunity to join a centuries-old fraternity that has been the cornerstone of many communities and has offered countless members friendship, fellowship, and charity. The process for becoming a Freemason is relatively simple and straightforward. This guide will provide you with an overview of the steps to becoming a Freemason in South Africa.

The first step to becoming a Freemason in South Africa is to find and contact your local lodge. Lodges are typically located in major cities throughout the country, and there are often multiple lodges in each city. You can find contact information for local lodges online or by asking other Freemasons for recommendations. Once you have contacted your local lodge, you will need to fill out an application form and provide any necessary documents, such as proof of identity or membership fees.

Once you have submitted your application form and documents, you will need to attend an interview with the lodge’s Master or Secretary. During this interview, you will be asked questions about your background and motivations for joining the fraternity. Once you have completed this interview successfully, you will be invited to attend lodge meetings as an Entered Apprentice (EA).

As an EA, you will learn more about the history of Freemasonry, its rituals and traditions, as well as ethical principles such as integrity and service to others. You will also participate in various activities such as lectures, dinners and other social events with fellow members. After attending at least one year’s worth of meetings as an EA, you may be eligible for promotion to Fellow Craft (FC).

As an FC member, you can continue learning more about the fraternity by attending lectures on topics such as Masonic law or symbolism. After two years’ worth of meetings as an FC member, you may be eligible for promotion to Master Mason (MM). As a Master Mason, you can take part in all activities available within the lodge including voting on issues affecting the fraternity or participating in charity work within your community.

After completing all three degrees of initiation into Freemasonry – Entered Apprentice (EA), Fellow Craft (FC) and Master Mason (MM) – you are now a fully fledged member of the fraternity! Becoming a Freemason provides opportunities for personal development by exploring new areas of knowledge while providing service to others through charitable activities within your community.

The Benefits of Joining the Freemasons in South Africa

Joining the Freemasons in South Africa is a great way to become part of an ancient, worldwide fraternity. The Freemasons have existed for centuries and are still going strong today. Membership offers many benefits, including networking opportunities, charitable work, and spiritual growth. Here are some of the benefits of joining the Freemasons in South Africa.

One benefit of joining the Freemasons in South Africa is access to a global network of members. Through this network, members can make connections with other Masons around the world. This provides members with access to resources, contacts, and knowledge that can be beneficial both professionally and personally.

Membership also provides an opportunity to participate in charitable work throughout South Africa. The Masonic Order is dedicated to helping those in need through support of various charities and organizations. By joining the organization, members can help make a difference by donating their time or money to causes they believe in.

Therefore, membership also provides an opportunity for spiritual growth and development. The Masonic Order encourages its members to explore their beliefs and practice personal spiritual development through prayer, meditation, and study. Through this process, members gain insight into themselves as well as into their relationships with others.

In reflection, joining the Freemasons in South Africa offers many benefits including networking opportunities, charitable work opportunities, and spiritual growth and development opportunities. For those looking for ways to get involved with a long-standing global fraternity that has a strong presence in South Africa, membership can provide these benefits and more.

Types of Masonic Lodges in South Africa

Masonic Lodges in South Africa are divided into several categories. The most common types of lodges are Grand Lodges, District Grand Lodges, Provincial Grand Lodges, and Constituent Lodges. Grand Lodges are the governing bodies of Freemasonry in the country; they handle all administrative and legal matters related to the organization. District Grand Lodges oversee multiple lodges in a specific region; they also have a role in determining which lodges may be opened or closed. Provincial Grand Lodges oversee multiple lodges within their own province, while Constituent Lodges are individual lodges that operate independently within a jurisdiction.

All Masonic lodges in South Africa must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). This includes the recognition of degrees and titles, as well as the use of appropriate regalia for each degree. Each lodge must also have at least one Master Mason who serves as its Worshipful Master and presides over meetings. The UGLE also sets forth the general principles that all Masonic lodges must follow, such as upholding truth and morality, promoting charity and brotherly love, providing aid to those in need, and upholding justice and fairness for all.

In order to join a Masonic lodge in South Africa, prospective members must first be recommended by an existing member who will then serve as their mentor throughout their time with the organization. Prospective members then go through an initiation process which includes taking an oath of secrecy and accepting certain obligations. Once accepted into a lodge, members can progress through various degrees which involve further study of Freemasonry’s teachings and principles.

Masonic lodges in South Africa offer many benefits to its members including social events such as dinners or meetings, educational opportunities such as lectures or seminars on Freemasonry topics, special travel privileges for members visiting other countries with Masonic organizations, access to scholarship funds for higher education opportunities for members or their families, access to exclusive clubs or other events related to Freemasonry culture, networking opportunities with other Freemasons around the globe, and much more.

Famous Freemasons from South Africa

Since the establishment of the first Freemason lodge in South Africa in 1811, many notable figures have become members of this fraternity. From prominent politicians to influential businessmen, many of South Africa’s most famous citizens have been Freemasons. Here are some of the most notable Freemasons from South Africa:

Former president Nelson Mandela was a member of the Mabelese Lodge, No. 2417, in Pretoria. He was initiated into the Masonic Order in 1987 along with several other African National Congress activists during his time in prison. Mandela believed that being a Freemason enabled him to bridge some divides between different political factions and ethnic groups during negotiations for a new constitution in South Africa.

Former Prime Minister Jan Smuts was a prominent Freemason and served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Africa from 1912-1913. He was an active member of the fraternity throughout his political career and even wrote extensively about it. His insights into Masonry has made him one of the most influential figures within the fraternity in South African history.

Businessman and philanthropist Harry Oppenheimer was also a prominent Freemason and is considered one of the most successful business leaders in South African history. He served as Grand Master from 1945-1951 and helped to spread Masonry throughout southern Africa during his tenure. Oppenheimer is credited with helping to establish numerous charities and philanthropic initiatives throughout his lifetime that have had a lasting impact on society.

Industrialist Basil Schonland was another influential figure within Masonry in South Africa during the 20th century. He served as Grand Master from 1953-1959 and is credited with helping to modernize Masonry by introducing new initiatives such as an annual national convention for members that provided educational opportunities for members throughout the country.

Actor Winston Ntshona was initiated into Masonry in 1987 along with Nelson Mandela, becoming one of only two black Masons at that time in South Africa. Ntshona used his platform as an actor to promote Masonic ideals such as charity work, education, and tolerance among different cultural groups within society.

These are just some of the many famous Freemasons who have left their mark on South African society through their involvement with this ancient brotherhood. Their dedication to promoting tolerance, education, and charity is still felt today by those who follow their example.

The Role of Women in the Freemasons in South Africa

The Freemasons is an organization that has a long and varied history, with many members across the globe. In South Africa, the Freemasons have been present for centuries, and women have played an important role within the movement. While women are only recently being accepted into the organization in some parts of the world, they have had a presence in South Africa since its inception.

Women in South Africa have been involved with the Freemasons since the early 19th century. They were initially part of secret societies known as “co-masonry”, which was created to give women a chance to participate in Masonic rituals without having to join a full-fledged lodge. These societies allowed women to take part in activities such as degree ceremonies and other aspects of masonic life without having to go through the traditional initiation process.

Today, many lodges across South Africa allow women to become full members. These lodges are known as mixed lodges or “co-freemasonry” lodges, which are open to both men and women alike. Women who become full members are able to take part in all aspects of masonic life, including degree ceremonies, rituals, meetings, and social activities.

In addition to becoming full members of masonic lodges, many women are also involved with other aspects of Freemasonry such as charity work and educational activities. Women’s lodges often support charitable causes such as providing aid for those affected by natural disasters or helping those in need within their local communities. They may also provide educational opportunities for children or adults through various programs and workshops.

The role of women within South African Freemasonry is growing each year as more organizations embrace co-freemasonry and recognize their importance within the movement. The presence of female members has allowed for greater understanding between genders and has helped create a more inclusive atmosphere within Masonic circles. Through their involvement with various aspects of Masonic life such as charity work and educational initiatives, these female members continue to strengthen the bonds between men and women within Freemasonry while helping create a better future for all South Africans.

Last Thoughts

In reflection, Freemasonry is a very popular institution in South Africa. It has been around since the late 1800s and is still very active today. With over 350 lodges across the country, there are plenty of opportunities for those interested in the craft. The Grand Lodge of South Africa is the governing body for all Freemasons in the country and they oversee all matters relating to the craft. There are also many charitable organisations that are associated with Freemasonry in South Africa such as The Grand Charity of South Africa and The Masonic Foundation of South Africa, both of which provide assistance to those in need. So, if you are looking to join an organisation that provides help to others and has a long history of doing so, then Freemasonry may be for you.

Freemasonry is a great way to meet new people, learn about different cultures and make a positive difference in your local community. With its strong presence across South Africa, there are plenty of lodges for anyone wishing to become a Freemason and get involved with this ancient fraternity.


Esoteric Masons