Freemasons have celebrated the 25th anniversary since the establishment
of their society's Masonic Lodge in the country.
A ceremony presided
over by Mr Jayantilal Keshavji Chande, the Grand Master of the District
Grand Lodge of East Africa, was held recently at which the R750,000
newly renovated and extended Mount Simpson (Bel Ombre) Masonic Hall was
The East African
District, which incorporates Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Seychelles,
has 3,000 members who belong to 49 units, called Masonic Lodges.
three such lodges, the 25-year-old Seychelles Lodge, the Mt Simpson
Lodge and the Installed Masters Lodge which together have a membership
There are five
million Freemasons in the whole world of FreeMasonry, which is divided
into districts for administrative purposes.
Speaking to Seychelles
Nation during the dedication ceremony, Mr Chande who had come to
celebrate the anniversary together with 38 other Freemasons from Kenya,
Uganda and Tanzania, said that he was appointed to head the 49 units of
the East African District in February 1996 by His Royal Highness, The
Duke of Kent.
He explained that
Freemasons worldwide contributed together about one million dollars a
day, (about US$350, 000, 000 a year), which each lodge donated to
charitable organisations within their countries as the society was
oriented to helping the disadvantaged communities.
He said that
Freemasonry was about 300 years old having been believably founded in
England in the mid-16th century by masons who built cathedrals during
Until the beginning
of the Second World War, Mr Chande explained, the society had remained
quite open and had nothing secretive or to hide, but because a large
number of the members had difficulties with the German administration
during the war, the society opted to operate low key in order not to
jeopardise the lives of the members.
Reiterating that it
was a non-secretive society and refuting fears that it was a devil
worshipping society, Mr Chande said it was rather a non-denominational
organisation in which all holy books were open and all religions
Mr Chande however
said that the society had kept secret the mode of recognition, which he
said was how the members recognised each other.
Spelling out what
it required to qualify for membership, Mr Chande stated that one needed
to be of good moral and ethical standards and believe that there existed
a Supreme Creator. He also noted that wealth acquisition was not one of
the criteria, despite the fact that the members had to posses time
resource and prove ability to contribute towards charity.
truth, honesty, faith in God and charity is what the Grand Master
enumerated as guiding principles of the society.
Owing to the fact
that cathedrals building was basically a men dominated affair, Mr Chande
explained why the society displayed a male dominance in most parts of
the world, although some lodges had lately accommodated female
membership, but ruled out the possibility of female membership
authorisation in Seychelles within the foreseeable future.
also said that being a non-denominational society, Freemason did not
allow room for members to express their fundamentalist religious views,
as it believed in equality among all religions.