The first missionaries to South Africa arrived in April 1853, and in August, the first congregation was organized four miles from Cape Town. Two years later, there were three congregations totaling nearly 130 members. Missionaries were not sent to South Africa from 1865 to 1903 because of government restrictions and the inability to speak the Afrikaans language. A few years after missionaries returned to South Africa, the first Church building was built in Mowbray in 1916-17.
An area conference was held for the first time in October 1978, attended by 3,450 of the 7,200 members living in South Africa, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and South West Africa (Namibia). In February 1992, another conference was held in Johannesburg with 4,200 in attendance, including a youth choir of 140. In February 1996, another regional conference had more than 5,000 in attendance with a choir of more than 100 local singers. Today, members of all origins work together to overcome cultural barriers that have been prevalent in South African society.