Durban South Africa Temple
Thomas S. Monson, prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced construction of a new Mormon temple in Durban, South Africa, at the Church’s 181st semi-annual general conference, which was broadcast worldwide. The Durban temple with be South Africa’s second Mormon temple. The first, located in Johannesburg, was dedicated in 1985.
The Mormon Church’s history in South Africa began in 1853, when missionaries first arrived there in April. By August of that year, the first congregation was organized just outside Cape Town. The growth of the Church was amazing. In just two years' time, one congregation became three, and South African Latter-day Saints in the area totaled almost 130. Government restrictions and challenges in speaking Afrikaans led to a period from 1865 to 1903 in which no Mormon missionaries were sent to South Africa. Just a few years after missionary work resumed there, the first Mormon church building was constructed in Mowbray.
The growth of the Church moved steadily onward. By October 1978, there were 7,200 church members in South Africa, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South West Africa (Namibia), 3,450 of whom attended the area’s first conference. Fourteen years later, 4,200 church members attended a conference in Johannesburg, and four years after that, a regional conference celebrated the attendance of 5,000 church members. Today, South Africa is home to 55,000 Latter-day Saints of all races, worshiping in unity and working together to overcome some of South Africa’s cultural challenges.