South Africa stands in an unusual position in regard to Freemasonry, for no less than 4 constitutions are at work, namely South African (formerly Netherlandic), English, Scottish and Irish. It is certainly to the credit of the craft that they all work together in peace and harmony, which illustrates their common source of origin. Fraternal visits are exchanged and on such occasions there is every evidence of the brotherly love and unity which exists between the various Lodges.
The first permanent English Lodge in South Africa was the British, No 334, which was warranted by the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) in 1811 and consecrated the following year. Looking back, the Lodge de Goede Hoop seems to have been interested in one way and another with the establishment of all the early Lodges in Cape Town. In fact, many of its members formed a good part of the foundation members of such Lodges. Bro JA Truter, DGM of the Netherlands officiated and installed the 1st Master of the British Lodge.
The “British” is the Mother Lodge of English Freemasonry in South Africa and between it and de Goede Hoop there has always been a cordial relationship. They have maintained the true Masonic feeling of love and harmony and have shown that even in those early days when their members spoke different languages and were drawn from 2 nations which have helped to weld together this great country, they could work together, forgetting all their differences and concentrating on building up the Royal Art of Masonry. Tradition has it that these 2 Lodges hold their election meeting in the same month every year. At the conclusion, it is customary for the Master Elect of de Goede Hoop to proceed with his Officers Elect to the Temple of the British Lodge and exchange fraternal felicitations with their Master and Officers Elect.
What a great inference and lesson can we not draw from this. Would that those in profane world could carry the Masonic teaching into practice and, with untiring zeal, endeavour to promote whatever is good and beautiful. Would that they could follow the voice of reason and by tolerance and love cement the bonds which would safeguard our future.
In 1860, the Scottish Constitution arrived in South Africa when the Southern Cross Lodge, No. 398, was constituted in the de Goede Hoop Temple by Sir Christoffel Brand, DGM NC. Once again, the Lodge drew many of its founders from members or initiates of de Goede Hoop. The first Irish Lodge, St Patricks, No. 199, was constituted in 1897 by the Provincial Grand Master (W M of de Goede Hoop), R W Bro CE Lewis.
Thus, it can be seen that the installation of the first Lodges of each of the 3 sister constitutions in South Africa was conducted by DGMs and a PGM of the Netherlandic Constitution, all of whom were initiates of the Lodge de Goede Hoop.