Society

Major Religions In South Africa

Protestantism across several denominations is the largest belief set in South Africa, with irreligious South Africans being a significant proportion of the population.

Christianity is the primary belief system in South Africa, with Protestantism being the largest denomination. Non-Christian entities in the country include Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. Even though the country prides itself on being a multi-dominion country, 15% of the population do not identify themselves with any religion, the second largest group after the Protestant Christians. The San community maintains the African Traditional Religion up to today. The Dutch and the British introduced Christianity during the apartheid era. The belief is more common among the whites and colored South Africans, taking a total of 86%. Below are the most notable Christian belief systems;

Protestant Christian

Protestantism is the primary belief system in South Africa with 36% of the total population. However, it is less dominant in the black community who identify themselves with the Zion Christian faith. Since its introduction in 1652 by the settlers, the system has gained popularity and has majority following.

Zion Christian Faith

The Zion Faith is the religion of the black people in South Africa. The system is independent and indigenous taking a 23.7% of the black community and constitutes 11.1% of the whole population of the country. The belief was introduced in the early 1916 under the guidance of Engenas Lekganyane, a once evangelical student of the Anglican system. In the infant years, the church ran by the doctrines of the Christian Catholic Church based on Zion, Illinois. Today the church, as opposed to the mainstream European churches, combines the aspects of African traditions with the values of Christianity. In the apartheid regime where traditional beliefs were mocked and rejected, thChristianity is the primary belief system in South Africa, with Protestantism being the largest denomination. Non-Christian entities in the country include Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism. Even though the country prides itself in being a multi-dominion country, 15% of the population do not identify themselves with any religion, the second largest group after the Protestant Christians. The San community maintains the African Traditional Religion up to today. The Dutch and the British introduced Christianity during the apartheid era. The belief is more common among the whites and colored South Africans, taking a total of 86%. Below are the most notable Christian belief systems;

Protestant Christian

Protestantism is the primary belief system in South Africa with 36% of the total population. However, it is less dominant in the black community who identify themselves with the Zion Christian faith. Since its introduction in 1652 by the settlers, the system has gained popularity and has a majority following.

Zion Christian Faith

The Zion Faith is the religion of the black people in South Africa. The system is independent and indigenous taking a 23.7% of the black community and constitutes 11.1% of the whole population of the country. The belief was introduced in the early 1916 under the guidance of Engenas Lekganyane, a once evangelical student of the Anglican system. In the infant years, the church ran by the doctrines of the Christian Catholic Church based on Zion, Illinois. Today the church, as opposed to the mainstream European churches, combines the aspects of African traditions with the values of Christianity. In the apartheid regime where traditional beliefs were mocked and rejected, the system faced repulsion from the colonial government and regarded as a sect.

Anglican Christian

The Church of England came to South Africa in the early 17th century. With the growing force of colonialism, the religion dominated as more British settled in the Cape Town. Today the church embraces the teachings embedded in the life and resurrection of Christ and 3.8% of the population in the country subscribe to this religion. The popularity of the belief system is due to its liberated reforms that entertain ordination of women and surprisingly, homosexuality as compared to most evangelical counterparts.

Roman Catholic Christian

The Roman Catholic Church is the main Catholicism in South Africa and 7.1 of the population in the country are followers of this religion.The belief system is common among the Zulu, Xhosa, and Sotho. Most white Catholics who are English Speaking are the descendants of the Irish immigrants. The Calvinist Afrikaans is not so into the religion, and their population is almost insignificant.

The Dutch Reformed Church

The belief system is similar to the Anglican faith and forms 6.7% of the total population in the country. The church was begun in Rustenburg after church members refused to sing hymns from a hymn book that they considered blasphemous. The members were exiled and together during the Great Trek of Afrikaner-Boer, the church developed. Today, the church embraces gay relationships and endorses them as full members of the Christian faith. Other notable Christian belief systems in South Africa include the Methodist Christian with a 6.8% of the population and the Charismatic Christians with a fascinating 8.2%.

Islam

Islam, though a minor religion, was introduced by the Dutch settlers’ Cape Malay slaves and constitutes 1.5% of the total population in the country. The first Muslim believers were slaves, political prisoners, and exiles from Africa and Asia in the post-apartheid era. Economic immigrants from India and Pakistan also contributed to the Muslim community before the end of apartheid.

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism

The Indians who worked as laborers in the settlements introduced Hinduism and now forms 1.2% of the total population in the country. The Chinese immigrants introduced Buddhism in South Africa. Judaism came about when the Jewish astronomers and cartographers came to South Africa. After the eradication of apartheid system, religion, freedom, and protection in the country facilitated the growth of different religions.

The Traditional African Religion

During the introduction of Christianity at the onset of colonialism and more notably in the apartheid era, there was a mass execution of the Traditional African Religion. The European settlers believed that Africans did not have the true religion and so the implementation to extinct the traditional belief system. Today the government endorses and protects all beliefs including the African religion. In conclusion, the multi-colored nation of South Africa is said to support Christianity as the primary belief system. However, other religions are protected by the constitution. The belief systems have the right to run under the wings of democracy and the right to worship. This minority group forms less than 1% of the total population.e system faced repulsion from the colonial government and regarded as a sect.


Major Religions In South Africa

RankBelief SystemShare of South African Population
1Protestant Christian n.e.s.36%
2Atheist or Agnostic15.1%
3Zion Christian11.1%
4Pentecostal or Charismatic Christian8.2%
5Roman Catholic Christian7.1%
6Methodist Christian6.8%
7Dutch Reformed Christian6.7%
8Anglican Christian3.8%
9Muslim1.5%
10

Hindu
Traditional African Religions, Judaism, and Various Other Beliefs
1.2%
Less than 1% each

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