Religious beliefs in South Africa


South Africa has a broad mix of religions. Some religions are based in ethnic and regional areas of South Africa's population. The immense majority of South Africans are Christians. The South African government has actively promoted particular Christian beliefs during the twentieth century, but there is no official state religion or whatsoever substantial government inhibition concerning religious beliefs.

The most prominent instituted Christian denominations rooted from European colony. About 80% of all South Africans are Christians, and most are Protestants. More than 8 million are members of African Independent churches, which have at least 4,000 congregations. The denomination generally holds a combination of traditional African and Protestant beliefs. The other large Protestant denomination, the Dutch Reformed Church, has about 4 million members in several branches. It arrived in South Africa in the 17th century.

The other major religions are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Bahá'í Faith. Hinduism was introduced by the bound servants transferred from the Indian subcontinent. Islam was introduced through Cape Malay slaves of the Dutch colonists. Muslims dominate around 30 to 40 countries from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 1990s, Muslim community in South Africa has a population of around 400,000 and gaining new members, particularly among black South Africans. The majority of Muslims are Indian ancestry. Some live in or close to Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Buddhism was introduced by some Chinese and Indian immigrants. The Bahá'í Faith was introduced in 1911.