The Christian faith is practiced by over 80% of the South African people. Hindus, Muslims, and Jews are the other significant religious groups. A small percentage of the South African population does not practice any of the main faiths and considers themselves to be traditionalists or individuals with no religious connection.
Catholicism was introduced to South Africa by Portuguese and Spanish colonists who had been brought over by King João III in the 16th century. After the Dutch took control of South Africa in the 17th century, they too brought in Catholics from their own country to serve as priests and teachers in the newly established schools. The British also recruited Catholics into their armed forces during the Napoleonic Wars. When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, all its citizens were required to declare their religion on a census form. Since then, many non-Christian religions have emerged in South Africa but Catholicism is still widely practised among the white community.
In addition to being the largest single religious group in South Africa, Catholics account for nearly half of all Christians in that country. Other estimates range up to 70%.
There are about 1.5 million Catholics in South Africa today, out of a total population of 50 million. About 7% of all South Africans are members of the Catholic Church.
South Africa's first Catholic bishop was appointed in 1838 by the Portuguese king. The first native priest arrived two years later.
South Africa's Religion
Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, indigenous African religions, and Judaism are the primary faiths practiced in South Africa. The majority of these religions were brought by European and other foreign invaders. Traditional African religion is widely practiced and was brought to by our North and West African forefathers. They spread it throughout the continent.
In addition to these religions, many South Africans practice a form of spirituality called New Age. This new belief system has become popular in South Africa and around the world. It involves meditation, yoga, psychic abilities, spiritual healing, and faith in a higher power.
Why do some people think that animals are able to talk? People have been telling stories for centuries about certain animals being able to speak human language. These stories usually involve elephants, lions, dogs, and monkeys talking with each other or even humans. Scientists say that animals can't talk but they can communicate through other means such as body language.
Some people believe that animals can talk because they want to be loved or need help from man. Others claim that they are making things up to explain away strange behaviors that we cannot understand. Still others believe that animals are able to talk but they don't because they fear being punished if they make a sound.
People have been telling stories for centuries about certain animals being able to talk.
Christianity is by far the most popular religion in South Africa, with 55% of the population identifying themselves as such. The second most common response was 'no religion' at 20%.
The majority of Christians in South Africa are Roman Catholics, but other denominations make up the rest of the Christian community. In fact, Protestantism is the most common non-Catholic denomination, followed by Anglicanism and Orthodoxy.
Almost all South Africans identify as Christian, though many people also claim another faith. As well as the mainstream religions, there are several smaller groups that may have some influence in certain parts of the country. These include Baha'i, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.
In addition to being a predominantly Christian nation, South Africa is also one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world. People from all walks of life are welcome in religious institutions, and it is not unusual to see Muslims attending Catholic services or Jews visiting churches on the Sabbath.
However, discrimination based on religion does exist in South Africa.
These early exchanges impacted (and continue to shape) South Africa's religious mix. The majority of South Africans today identify as Christian (84.2 percent ). The Northern Cape (97.9 percent) and Free State (95.5 percent) have the largest percentages of Christians in the country, according to StatsSA. The least religious region is Gauteng, with 73.4 percent identifying as Christian.
Almost all South Africans are considered ethnic groups, with three main groups - whites, blacks, and Indians - making up most of the population. About 4 percent are members of other ethnic groups including Arabs, Armenians, Jews, Pakistanis, and people of mixed race.
About 7 percent of the population is made up of foreigners - immigrants from other countries who reside in South Africa - mostly black Americans fleeing racial discrimination at home. Most foreign residents work in the tourism industry or as domestic workers. About 2 percent of the population is composed of refugees and asylum seekers from around the world. Many of these people live in poverty and struggle to find employment. Others may be wealthy individuals seeking refuge from dangerous places such as Syria or Democratic Republic of Congo.
The majority of South Africans are black people of African descent, but there are also large communities of white people (mostly Europeans) and Indian people (mostly Hindus and Sikhs). Since apartheid ended in 1994, many black people have moved into suburbs previously reserved for whites, changing the face of many cities.