Durban South Africa Temple
On 1 October 2011, during the opening session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church, announced the construction of a temple in Durban, South Africa. The Durban South Africa Temple will be the fifth Mormon temple built in Africa and the second in South Africa. The Johannesburg South Africa Temple which was dedicated in 1985, was the first Mormon temple built in South Africa.
The nation of South Africa has 12 stakes, 4 districts, and 1 operating temple in the city of Johannesburg, over 350 miles (570 kilometers) northwest of Durban. The city of Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. With a metropolitan population of almost 4.5 million people, it is the country's third largest city, behind Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Early Church History in South Africa
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a long-standing history in South Africa. In August 1853, only 23 years after the Church was officially organized, the first congregation in South Africa was formed four miles from 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 in 1917.
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.
As of 2014, South Africa had over 59,000 Church members of all races, worshiping in unity and working together to overcome some of South Africa’s cultural challenges. Throughout South Africa, there are 154 congregations, and 61 family history centers, where members and others can learn how to do genealogical research.
Groundbreaking for Durban South Africa Temple Announced
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the groundbreaking for the Durban South Africa Temple will take place on Saturday, 9 April 2016. Attendance at the groundbreaking is by invitation; however, a live Internet feed of the ceremony will be transmitted to meetinghouses within the temple district.