The historic mission of Freemasonry in Africa has been for its Lodges and other Bodies to serve as a center of union and unity in communities of which the majority of citizens belong to a conglomerate of nationalities, languages, and races. The first Lodge in South Africa was Goede Hoop, of Holland origins, constituted in the Transvaal in 1772. (See article in this Supplement under Slavery, etc. ) The English founded British Lodge, No. 334, at Cape Town, in 1811. In 1860 a Lodge under Scotland was constituted as Southern Cross, No. 398. The earliest Lodge under an Irish warrant was Abercom No. 159, in 1895. Haille Selassie, the Emperor, was preparing to establish Lodges in Abyssinia shortly before the Italian conquest.
By 1936 there were on the Continent 389 Lodges recognized by Grand Lodges in the United States, and an undiscoverable number not recognized, many of the latter being of French, Spanish, and Italian origin. There were 254 Lodges under English Constitutions 103 under Scotland, 31 under Ireland. Since very little of Africa is under any Exclusive Territorial Jurisdiction the way is open for Lodges for America. nationals, of which there are many in port cities businessmen, sailors, men of the Navy, airmen etc. In size African Lodges range from 25 to 301 members.
Egypt at the Sudan had in 1936, 25 Lodges; Province of Natal, 46; Union of South Africa and the Transvaal, 228; Johannesburg, 31; Cape Town, 12 Nigeria, 21; Rhodesia, 24; West Africa, 17; East Africa, 11; Tanganyika Territory, 6; Cape Colony, 9 Orange Free State, 2; etc. The English Lodges have five District Grand Lodges, Ireland has a Provincial Grand Lodge of South Africa, Southern. The Scottish Rite has two Grand Inspectors General among Lodges under English Constitutions. The Knights Templar and the Royal Arch are vigorous. The Transvaal Bodies have a Masonic Home. the majority of Bodies have a Benevolence Fund. A possible United Grand Lodge for South Africa is discussed, but appears unlikely.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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