What is Freemasonry?

The Grand Lodge of South Africa is a part of one of the oldest social and charitable organizations in the world – Freemasonry. With roots in the traditions of medieval stonemasons, Freemasonry uses building analogies to teach members how to lead productive lives and benefit their communities. The guiding principles of Freemasonry are Integrity, Friendship, Respect, and Charity. These values help Freemasons define their path in life and bring people together regardless of their race, religion, or other differences. Freemasonry provides its members with a sense of purpose, lasting friendships, and opportunities to make positive contributions to their communities through charity and volunteer work.

Guiding Principles of the Grand Lodge of South Africa

The Grand Lodge of South Africa, as an independent recognised body in global Freemasonry, values four principles that shape its members’ lives: Integrity, Friendship, Respect, and Charity. These principles are as relevant today as they have been throughout the organization’s history.

Integrity: 

The Grand Lodge of South Africa emphasizes the importance of building good character and integrity among its members. Membership provides a supportive structure for personal growth and development, fostering a sense of purpose and unity among members.

Friendship: 

The Grand Lodge of South Africa serves as a foundation for lifelong friendships among its members. Regardless of individual goals and aspirations, members share a sense of community and support that enhances their ability to succeed and grow.

Respect: 

The Grand Lodge of South Africa brings people together, disregarding any differences in race, religion, or other aspects that may divide society. Members are expected to uphold high moral standards and are encouraged to openly discuss the organization and its values.

Charity: 

Building Compassion Charity and kindness are integral to the Grand Lodge of South Africa’s principles. The organization provides a platform for members to make positive contributions to their communities and various causes through volunteer work and fundraising events. Members can make a significant impact locally, nationally, and globally through their time and financial support.

Did you know?

During apartheid in South Africa, only one organization was allowed to socialize with Colored people and that was Freemasonry. R.W. Bro. Morris Levin OSM, Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Africa, led the negotiations which resulted in this breakthrough.

RWBro. Morris Levin, OSM
R.W.Bro. Morris Levin, 33°, O.S.M, is a Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Africa and is a life member of the Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction, of the United States. He has been honored with the O.S.M (Order of Service to Masonry) award, by both the Grand Lodge of South Africa and the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of South Africa.

The process to bring Prince Hall Masonry into the Grand Lodge of South Africa (GLSA) began in 1970 at the Provincial Grand Lodge HQ in Cape Town. Morris Levin and senior Masonic officials met with over 40 Prince Hall members to draft resolutions for GLSA approval, which included disbanding existing Prince Hall Lodges.

Due to Apartheid laws, full membership for coloured people was impossible. After negotiations with then Prime Minister John Vorster and the head of intelligence, GLSA received a letter granting permission. On November 19th, 1977,

Prince Hall members were initiated, passed, and raised at the De Goede Hoop Temple in Cape Town, with the Grand Master consecrating two new lodges, Perseverance and Phoenix. Following the workings, a mixed banquet attended by over 400 people took place.

Through the remaining years of Apartheid, GLSA was able to accept coloured and Muslim men as full members, with some achieving high office in the Grand Lodge.