My quest to visit all of the places featured in the Hidden Johannesburg book continues. With my recent trip to the Freemasons’ Hall, which I’m about to tell you about, I have now visited 20 of the 28 places in the book. This will be my final Hidden Joburg post of the year and I think it’s a good one.
You’re probably wondering how I got access to the Freemasons’ Hall. It actually happened through the Rand Club, where I joined recently and where several Freemasons are also members. I met a bunch of Masons at a networking event at the Rand Club two weeks ago, and one of them was kind enough to arrange this visit for me, Eden (also a Rand Club member), and my friends Fiver and Gail. Although some Freemason rules and traditions are secret, the building itself is not, and pre-arranged visits are welcome. I’ll include contact details at the end of this post.
The Freemason’s Hall, designed in 1954 by South African architect Gordon Leith, is a wide, imposing building that sits on the border of Parktown and Hillbrow and shares a parking lot with Brenthurst Hospital. The hall is home to the District Grand Lodge of South Africa, North, which falls under the United Grand Lodge of England.
South Africa is unique in the Freemasonry world because it has two networks of lodges: a group that falls under the United Grand Lodge of England, and another group that falls under the Grand Lodge of South Africa. I could ramble on for ages about what Freemasonry is and the history of this vast, loosely affiliated network of organizations. But it’s very complicated, some (but not all) of it is secret, and I would inevitably get things wrong and offend Freemasons the world over. (In fact, I’m sure I will do that anyway. Please don’t mansplain me, Masons. Despite the fact that I happen to share your name, I am clueless. I am also a woman and women aren’t allowed to be Freemasons.)
Anyway, from here on I’m going to skip over most of the details and just show you pretty pictures, all taken during our informative tour with the Freemasons’ District Grand Secretary, Roland Dunstan.
Inside the Freemasons’ Hall
Roland also took is into the library, which I thought was very cool.
Thanks so much to Roland and the rest of the Masons for letting us visit — it was fascinating. If you’d like to learn more or schedule a visit to the Freemasons’ Hall (the hall also hosts events and film shoots), call 011-643-3311.
Browse all of my posts about Hidden Joburg places here.