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SID offices located in Pretoria, South Africa.

From Adventist World, January 2022. Photo courtesy of Adolf Chitauro.

Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division

By Grant Lottering

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Grant Lottering, B.Th. (Helderberg College of Higher Education, Somerset West, South Africa), currently serves as assistant researcher at the Ellen G. White and SDA Research and Heritage Center of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. 

First Published: June 13, 2023

Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division is a sub-entity of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which coordinates the Seventh-day Adventist Church work in the southern region of Africa.

Current Territory and Statistics

The Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of Seventh-day Adventists (SID) covers the southernmost sub-region of the African continent, as well as the islands of the Indian Ocean east of the continent and a few islands in the Atlantic Ocean west of the continent. SID’s administrative oversight covers 18 African countries, including Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, all situated on the mainland continent, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion, and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, as well as Saint Helena Island, including Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, and Soa Tome and Principe in the Atlantic Ocean. SID is comprised of 13 subsidiary church administrative units, including nine union conferences, three union missions, and one attached field. These include the Botswana, Indian Ocean, Malawi, Northern Zambia, Southern Africa, Southern Zambia, Zimbabwe Central, Zimbabwe East, and Zimbabwe West Union Conferences; the Mozambique, North-Eastern Angola, and South-Western Angola Union Missions; and also Soa Tome and Principe Mission.1

Recent statistics (June 30, 2021) indicate that the SID has 13,220 churches with a membership of 4,281,416, making SID the second largest world division in terms of membership, following the East-Central African Division. With its general population of 220,535,000, the member-to-non-member ratio is 1:52.

Apart from the church departments and ministries such as Adventist AIDS International, Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries, Adventist Mission and PAKIA, Adventist Volunteer Service, and ADRA, SID operates two auxiliary institutions. These institutions are SIDMedia and the Ellen G. White Research and Heritage Center.

“SIDMedia was founded in 2004, with the need to join the rapid expansion of the Hope Channel.”2 An old sports center on Helderberg College, located in Somerset West, South Africa, was remodeled into recording studios from where SIDMedia operated until 2018. In 2019 SIDMedia was relocated to the division headquarters in Pretoria, where they first operated from the basement before they secured their own building along 8 Viceroy Link Street, Route 21 Corporate Park, in Pretoria, South Africa. The need to relocate to Pretoria came from practical challenges that required additional costs for union leaders to travel to Somerset West for board meetings when they attend year-end division meetings in Pretoria.

SIDMedia is a media and communication Christian production house that creates and produces “contextualized programs that seek to unite, inspire, and bring hope to people in our community.”3 This they do through music production, television shows, and livestream broadcasts. The latest addition to their ministry is the Adventist World Radio facilities that were launched in March 2022.

The Ellen G. White Research and Heritage Center was first opened on February 13, 1983, as an institution affiliated with the South African Union Conference. It was based at Helderberg College and contains a vault with copies of all Ellen White’s original letters and manuscripts. Prior to the era of the World Wide Web, the initial purpose was to provide access to all of Ellen White’s writings to researchers. Even though it became an auxiliary institution of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division in 2004, it remained at Helderberg College since it is required to be situated at an institution of higher education.

In the present era where the World Wide Web has made Ellen White’s writings accessible to all people anywhere, the Ellen G. White Research and Heritage Center continues to support the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in uplifting Jesus Christ and His Word by sharing the prophetic ministry and writings of Ellen G. White throughout the division territory. This is accomplished by producing resources such as books, articles, newsletters, and social-media content. The Ellen G. White Research and Heritage Center also works to preserve the history and heritage of the division territory. To this end the center has produced and edited several articles for the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, hosted heritage tours to their offices and selected heritage sights, and produced materials that celebrate God’s leading in the history of the development and growth of the church in southern Africa.

Early Beginnings

The Seventh-day Adventist Church adopted its name in the 1860s and organized its first local conference, the Michigan Conference, in 1861. The following year four more local conferences were organized as “state conferences” in the United States of America. “The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was organized at a meeting … in Battle Creek from May 20 to May 23, 1863.”4 At that time local conferences reported directly to the General Conference in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The first known Seventh-day Adventist to come to Africa is named William Hunt. Hunt settled in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1871. George Van Druten and Pieter Wessels, who lived in the same vicinity, both discovered the biblical Sabbath through divinely ordered circumstances. While under the impression that they were probably the only Sabbath keepers in the world, Van Druten and Wessels met William Hunt in 1886, who informed them that there was an organized Seventh-day Adventist Church in America. At that time the Seventh-day Adventist Church had a total membership of 23,111 in 28 organized local conferences in the United States and Canada and three mission fields abroad.5

Van Druten, Wessels, and Hunt immediately sent a letter to the General Conference with a request to send a Dutch minister to South Africa to instruct them in biblical truth and to baptize them into the body of Seventh-day Adventists. At the time, a Dutch minister was not available, and therefore the General Conference sent Pastor and Mrs. D. A. Robinson, Pastor and Mrs. C. L. Boyd, along with R. S. Anthony and George Burleigh as literature evangelists and Corrie Mace as a Bible instructor. The missionary team arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 28, 1887.6

Organizing the First Unions

The first church was organized with 21 members in August 1887 in Beaconsfield, a suburb of Kimberley, South Africa. The first local conference in Africa was organized in Cape Town, South Africa, on December 4, 1992, and became known as the South African Conference. Since its organization, until 1902, the South African Conference, like all other local conferences, reported directly to the General Conference in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The historic General Conference Session held in 1901 saw the reorganizing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church through the restructuring of its organizational system. Union Conferences were introduced to take over the work of administering local conferences. The union conferences then reported directly to the General Conference in America. Consequently, the South African Union Conference was organized at a session held in Cape Town from September 26–October 6, 1901.7 The South African Union Conference was organized with one local conference, the South African Conference that subsequently was renamed Cape Colony Conference, and two mission fields, the Natal-Transvaal Mission Field and the Rhodesian Mission Field. At its organization, the South African Union Conference had 315 members.

By 1914 the South African Union Conference grew to 34 churches across three local conferences and the nine mission fields. Six of those mission fields were situated north of the border of the Union of South Africa (now Republic of South Africa). These were the Malamulo Mission in Nyasaland (now Republic of Malawi), Barotse Mission in Northern Rhodesia (now Republic of Zambia), and the Glendale, Solusi, Somabula and Tsungwesi Missions in Southern Rhodesia (now Republic of Zimbabwe).

The South African Union Conference Committee, under the presidency of W. B. White, felt that the distances to these five mission fields from Cape Town, where their headquarters were located were too extensive. This made its administrative oversight a considerably difficult task. Consequently, they sent a letter to the General Conference in 1914 to request that consideration be given to organizing the work in Rhodesia and beyond into a union mission. Their request was met with favor by the General Conference Committee, which voted to “approve the suggestion that the work in Rhodesia be organized as a union mission field… with a Rhodesian superintendent.”8

It took quite some time for the union mission to be organized. The General Conference Committee only managed to elect a superintendent at a meeting held the following year on November 21, 1915. The GC Committee voted to ask Pastor U. Bender to go to South Africa to become the superintendent of the Rhodesian Union Mission.9 Pastor U. Bender and his family arrived in South Africa in January 1917 and went on to settle and establish the headquarters of the Rhodesian and Nyasaland Union Mission in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia.10 Although the Rhodesian and Nyasaland Union Mission (subsequently known as the Zambesi Union) was incorporated into the South African Union Conference, it relieved the South African Union Conference from its oversight of the mission fields north of the border of South Africa.

The African Division

As the Seventh-day Adventist Church continued to experience membership growth, it became all the more necessary to further develop its organizational structure. The model with which we are familiar today wherein local churches are nurtured by a local conference, which is in turn overseen by union conferences that reports to the General Conference through the divisions of the General Conference became established at the 1918 General Conference Session. By then the South African Union Conference administered 51 churches across three local conferences and one union mission with a combined membership of 2,492.11 These were the Cape, Natal-Transvaal and Orange Free State Conferences, and the Zambesi Union Mission.

During the South African Union Conference Executive Committee meetings held in Cape Town, South Africa, during July 13–22, 1919, a memorandum was adopted that requested the General Conference to give careful study to the work in Africa, particularly Southern and Central Africa. The memorial read:

Believing that the time has fully come for a decided forward movement in the work of carrying the third angel’s message to the millions inhabiting the great continent of Africa; and,

Believing further that the organization of the field south of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean and Red Seas, including Madagascar and adjacent islands, under one advisory committee would greatly facilitate the accomplishment of this task; we therefore–

Request the General Conference Committee to give careful study to the question of organizing this field in harmony with the plan followed in other great divisions, and if it meets with their approval that this organization be effected at an early date, preferably, if possible, at the meeting of their committee to be held in the autumn of 1919.

It further said:

We would suggest that this organization be composed of the South African Union Conference, including the territory comprising the political Union of South Africa; the Southern Union Mission (administering the work for natives), embracing the territory included in the political Union of South Africa and Bechuanaland; the Zambesi Union Mission, including the territory of the two Rhodesias, the Nyasaland Protectorate and the Portuguese East Africa, with temporary supervision of the work in the Katanga District of the Belgian Congo; the East African Union Mission, including the territory of British East Africa, what is known as German East Africa, and Uganda Protectorate, with temporary supervision of the work in the northeastern part of the Congo Free State; the Nigerian Union Mission, including the territory of West Africa, Guinea, and the Cameroons; and all such union missions as may later be organized in the Belgian Congo and other territories, when the work shall have been sufficiently developed to justify such organizations.12

The South African Union Conference Committee gave the motivation that such a development would provide a committee “with the opportunity of giving undivided attention to the study of the mission problems in Africa,” and it would also allow the South African Union Conference “to properly and quickly finish or develop the European work in South Africa.”13

Later that year, at the Fall Council meetings, Pastor Elmer E. Andross presented the memorandum to the General Conference Committee along with a report on the development of the work among native Africans. The memorandum was then referred to a committee comprised of the following individuals: J. L. Shaw, E. E. Andross, M. N. Campbell, W. T. Knox, A. T. Robinson, and W. A. Spicer.14 After giving study to the memorandum from the South African Union Committee, the committee returned six days later, on October 16, 1919, with the following report:

We accept the proposal of the African Division, and hereby constitute an African Divisional Section of the General Conference, its territory comprising all the portion of the continent at present under the supervision of the South African Union Conference, and its union missions, with the addition of the Belgian Congo, and all the western portion of Africa south of and including the Cameroons, leaving the relationship of the other portions of Africa to this Divisional Section to be determined later, after councils in Europe.15

The General Conference Committee then requested the Southeastern Union Conference to release William H. Branson in order to become a vice-president of the General Conference and become the first president of the newly organized African Division. Since its inception, the African Division occupied the building in Grove Street in Claremont, a suburb of Cape Town, which the South African Union Conference vacated for their use. The African Division was organized with one union conference; namely, the South African Union Conference, and two union missions; namely, the Southern and Zambesi Union Missions. The South African Union Conference administered the work of the Cape, Natal-Transvaal, and Orange Free State Conferences.

The Southern Union Mission was organized at the South African Union Conference Committee meetings held in Kenilworth, a suburb of Cape Town, during July 13–22, 1919. The Southern Union Mission was organized to take over the native work in South Africa, which was previously administered by the South African Union Conference, so that the latter could concentrate on the “European” work in the Union of South Africa. The Southern Union Mission therefore covered the same territory as the South African Union Conference but administered the native African work that included the Emmanuel, Maranatha, Bethel, and Zulu Missions.

The name of the Rhodesian and Nyasaland Union Mission was changed to Zambesi Union Mission at the same committee meetings held in Kenilworth.16 The Zambesi Union Mission by that time was extended to cover a vast territory that included Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique), and the Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo). The Zambesi Union Mission administered the Congo Border (Musofu), Glendale, Nyasaland (Malamulo), Solusi, Somabula, Rusangu, and Tsungwesi Mission stations.

Pastor W. H. Branson and his family left America on July 22, 1920, to take up the work in Africa. They arrived in Cape Town by boat on August 18, 1920, where they were welcomed by a large company of believers who expected their arrival with joyful anticipation.17 The South African Union Conference Executive Committee met with the African Division Executive Committee during August 22-27, 1920, where the reorganizing of the work in Africa was given ample consideration. “At this meeting the South African Union Conference relinquished the supervision of the Zambesi and Southern Union Mission Fields to the African Division.”18

The first general meeting of the African Division Executive Committee took place in Johannesburg during January 20-30, 1921.19 At this meeting the responsibility to develop the work in unentered territories was highlighted. Among the countries that were considered at this meeting included Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique), French Congo (The Republic of Congo), South West Africa (Namibia), Angola, and the countries of West and East Africa.20

Two years after its organizing, in 1921, the African Division requested permission from the General Conference Committee to combine the South African Union Conference and the Southern Union Mission. While the African Division became responsible for the missionary work that was formerly overseen by the South African Union Conference to become free to concentrate on the work of its three self-supporting conferences, the South African Union Conference realized that it still had a responsibility to support and supply resources to the newly developed fields. The African Division Committee met with the Executive Committees of the South African Union Conference and the Southern Union Mission to consider plans to take the way forward. There was a general sentiment among all stakeholders present that the work was not economical.

The GC Committee approved their request at a meeting held on December 15, 1921, at Takoma Park, D.C., U.S.A.21 At a combined constituency meeting for the South African Union Conference and the Southern Union Mission held in Bloemfontein, from January 23-30, 1922, delegates voted to combine the two union constituencies and to continue to use the name of the South African Union Conference.22

Organizing Unions in Central Africa

At the same time the African Division was organized, in 1919, the work in the Belgian Congo (The Democratic Republic of Congo) was started. The very first mission station was set up in Lomami District near Mato and was named Songa Mission. The first superintendent of the Songa Mission was R. P. Robinson, who laid a good foundation for a strong mission.23 The second mission station was opened in 1923 about seven kilometers from Elizabethville (Lubumbashi). That mission was known as Katanga Mission, and the pioneering workers were Brother and Sister Le Butt. Teachers and medical doctors were sent to the Belgian Congo, which gave the natives much confidence in the Seventh-day Adventist Missions.

Early in 1924 Brother and Sister Ferguson arrived from California and opened the third mission near Kongolo, and it became known as the Kongolo Mission. The encouraging growth of the work in the Belgian Congo warranted that plans be made to organize the Belgian Congo into a self-supporting organization. Until then the work in the Belgian Congo was cared for by the Zambesi Union Mission. When C. K. Meyers, an associate secretary of the General Conference, visited Europe in 1924, the General Conference Committee requested him to visit Belgium “for the purpose of having an interview with the government authorities regarding [the] mission work in the Belgian Congo.”24 Shortly thereafter the work in the Congo was organized into the Congo Union Mission.

At the Annual Council of the African Division held in Claremont during January 11-14, 1924, the South Atlantic Union Mission was organized. The South Atlantic Union Mission comprised the work along the west coast of the African continent, which at that stage included South West Africa (Namibia) and Portuguese West Africa (Angola). Pastor W. H. Anderson, who opened the work in both countries, was assigned as the first superintendent.25

Further development took place at the African Division’s Third Biennial Council held in 1925. By then the division saw such “evidence of growth and development of [its] work to the north”26 that it was necessary to host the council meetings in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. At these meetings it was voted that French Equatorial Africa became part of the South Atlantic Union Mission, and the name of the union mission was subsequently also changed to the Equatorial Union Mission. South West Africa was removed from the South Atlantic Union Mission and attached to the South African Union Conference since the “territory of South West Africa [was] more accessible to the South African Union Conference.”27

The same council meetings also birthed a new union mission field. The following resolution was passed with regard to the work in Nyasaland and portions of Northern Rhodesia and Portuguese East Africa:

WHEREAS, There is considerable expense entailed in the administration of the Nyasaland Mission Field from the Bulawayo headquarters, and

WHEREAS, the development of this work calls for closer and more direct general supervision, therefore

WE RECOMMEND, that this territory be formed into a union mission field to be known as the South East African Union Mission, comprising that portion of North-east Rhodesia, east of longitude 31, Nyasaland, and Portuguese East, north of latitude 22. We further

RECOMMEND, that this union function as from the first day of July 1925.28

Division leaders then attended a European Division Council Meeting in 1928 in Darmstadt, Germany, which was a council meeting for the divisions that were operational in Europe at the time. African Division leaders were invited to attend since organizational changes were proposed that affected the work in Africa. First, the Central European Division transferred the Ruanda territory to the African Division. The African Division then organized it into the East Congo Union Mission Field (renamed Central African Union Mission in 1929). Secondly, the African Division transferred the French Equatorial territory to the Southern European Division. The territory of Angola remained with the African Division and was thus renamed the Angolan Union Mission. These actions were ratified at the Biennial Council of the General Conference Committee held later in the year in Springfield, Massachusetts.29

Southern African Division

At the 1930 General Conference Session, the African Division was requested to reexamine its name. Not all the constituencies located in Africa belonged to the African Division. It, therefore, seemed inappropriate to retain the name that no longer reflected reality. The African Division presented the recommendation of their new name, Southern African Division, to the General Conference Committee for approval,30 which was effected at the Division Counsel held during June 3-13, 1931, in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia.31

The financial depression and conflicts of the Far East from 1931 to 1932 brought dire consequences for the Southern African Division. The General Conference had to cut appropriations and suggested that reorganizing and amalgamations of various church entities be considered. In an attempt to avoid retrenchments and economize human resources by releasing officers to enter the field, the Southern African Division Committee actioned the reorganizing of three particular union missions into two union missions. The affected union missions were the Angola, Congo, and Central African Union Missions. The Central African Union Mission was reorganized to consist of the Equatorial and Orientale Provinces of the Belgian Congo, Ruanda, and Urundi. The Angola-South Congo Union Mission was reorganized to consist of Angola and the Katanga, Kasai, and Lower Congo Provinces of the Congo.32 Further reorganizations of the local fields were also recommended to the Zambesi Union Mission and the South African Union Conference.

The next three years also saw the amalgamation of conferences and departments in an attempt to economize the resources. Toward 1936 financial prospects were looking better, and all of the mission fields and conferences that were united were reorganized into their former territories.

World War II Repercussions for the Southern Africa Division

World War II, which started in 1939 and lasted until 1945, however, also cast obstacles in the way of the progress of the church. One of the considerable difficulties brought about by the war was that it cut off communication with territories beyond Europe. Such was the case with the Tanganyika Mission Field that was administered by the Central European Division. In 1941 the Tanganyika Mission Field comprised the territory of modern-day Tanzania. The General Conference Fall Council, which took place in 1940, decided to place the Tanganyika Mission Field with its 18 churches with 2,836 members under the administrative care of the Southern African Division.33

Another difficulty brought about by the war was that it restricted international travel. At the 44th General Conference Session, which took place in 1941, J. F. Wright was elected as a general vice-president of the General Conference. Nathaniel C. Wilson was elected to succeed him as the president of the Southern Africa Division.34 While Wilson accepted the call, conditions at the time made it impossible for him to travel to Africa. Consequently, Charles W. Bozarth was elected to replace Wilson at the General Conference Committee Spring Council in 1942.35 I. J. Harrison was also elected to succeed Bozarth, who served as Southern Africa Division treasurer until then.

Another repercussion of the war involved the reorganization of the work in Africa. The territories of Kenya, Uganda, and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan all had their divisional headquarters in England as part of the Northern European Division. The international conflict required that a revision be considered. Therefore, the Kenya Union Mission, Uganda, and the southern part of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan were combined into one union mission known as the East African Union Mission and placed under the temporary administration of the Southern African Division.36 The Tanganyika Mission Field was also enlisted under the East African Union Mission at the same time.

Releasing Angola and Mozambique

A challenge that made it considerably difficult for the Southern African Division to serve Angola and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique) adequately was the language barrier. Angola and Portuguese East Africa were Lusophone countries and were often under-catered for in terms of resources provided by the Southern African Division. The General Conference Committee met on July 10, 1950, to consider a recommendation that was to be passed to the General Conference Session to transfer the Angola Union Mission and the work in Portuguese East Africa that was shared by the South African Union Conference and the Southeast African Union Mission to the Southern European Division.37 The General Conference approved the recommendation and voted that the change was to be effected on October 1, 1950.38 Despite the extensive distance between Europe and these two southern African countries, it was generally felt that their needs could be better met if they were under the administrative care of the Southern European Division, which also administered the work in Portugal.

Developing Native African Leaders and Vernacular Resources

Evangelism and church growth continued to grow at steady trends. Stronger efforts were especially seen when the division placed a stronger emphasis on developing indigenous human and material resources. Division president, Ralph Watts, lamented the “anti-white man, anti-missionary, anti-Christian spirit”39 that seemed to be fomenting among native Africans in a report to the General Conference Session of 1954. This demanded strategies of evangelism that recognized the need to provide material in local languages and leadership from among the people themselves.

Thus, the Southern African Division established more Voice of Prophecy Correspondence Bible Schools (VOP) in order to develop material in the languages of the African people. By 1954 the first VOP Bible School based in Cape Town, South Africa, was already providing Bible lessons in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, and Sesotho. The Belgian Congo was using French and Flemish lessons. At the same time, the division provided permanent buildings for the VOP Bible School in Blantyre, Nyasaland, Elizabethville, Belgian Congo, and in Nairobi, East Africa.40

The fast-growing work among the Africans also realized the need to provide African leadership. President Watts reported to the Division Council held in 1955 that the organization of local missions in the East African Union Mission saw the appointment of qualified African departmental secretaries (known today as directors), including the first officer of a local mission, the secretary-treasurer of the South Kenya Mission, Petro Ong’uti.

In keeping with their desire to develop African leaders, the Southern African Division upgraded Solusi Missionary College to offer a four-year college degree course in 1958 specifically to train African leaders. It was noted that “throughout the Southern African Division greater emphasis on indigenous leadership [was] being stressed.”41

The rapid church growth among indigenous people soon called for the organization of two more union missions. The East African Union Mission began to study the question of dividing their territory in October 1959. After receiving due consideration to the question, it came down to three options: (1) that the Tanganyika local mission field continue under the administration of the East African Union Mission, (2) that administrative changes be effected within the East African Union Mission, and (3) that a new union mission be organized comprising of the Tanganyika territory (Republic of Tanzania). When the matter was put to the vote on June 15, 1960, it carried that the Southern African Division recommend to the General Conference that the Tanganyika Mission Field be detached from the East African Union Mission and be organized into the Tanganyika Union Mission incorporating the Tanganyika mainland and adjacent islands effective immediately.42 The Tanganyika Union Mission was organized with five local fields and a membership of 13,164. The General Conference Committee approved the recommendation pending acceptance of the General Conference Session at a meeting held on June 30, 1960.43 Four years later, when Tanganyika gained independence, its name was subsequently changed to Tanzania Union Mission.

In their neighboring union mission, the membership of the Congo Union Mission grew to 63,773 by 1960, which deemed it essential for church leaders at the time to also divide the Congo Union Mission. At the Autumn Council held at Takoma Park, D. C., on October 31, 1960, the General Conference Committee voted to approve the division of the Congo Union Mission, which comprised Belgian Congo, Ruanda, and Urundi into two unions, namely, the Congo Union and the Ruanda-Urundi Union Missions.44 When this new union was organized, it became the single largest union in terms of membership and simultaneously the smallest union in terms of area.45 Two years later its name was changed to Central African Union Mission.

Developing African-born leaders remained a priority for the Southern African Division. The strides put forth to accomplish this task were again highlighted in the division president’s report to the General Conference Session in 1962. Robert Pierson reported a crash leadership course that provided intensive training for more than two hundred workers per year that was inaugurated to compensate for the low graduating numbers from Solusi College.46 The same report highlighted that African leadership increased to 17 presidents, 26 secretary-treasurers, 17 vice presidents, and three division committee members. Voice of Prophecy Bible lessons were then taught in 12 languages, and literature was produced and sold in 34 languages. The encouraging growth also highlighted that several African-led mission fields were well on their way toward self-support. So notable was the growth rate of the Southern African Division that the General Conference secretary praised the Southern African Division, which had achieved an incredible growth rate of 70,237 members for that four-year period, which was then still unparalleled in the Seventh-day Adventist Church history.47

Trans-Africa Division

The Southern African Division felt impressed to undergo another name change toward the end of 1963 since they were no longer only catering to the southern African countries. With Angola and Mozambique no longer part of their constituency and having a big concentration of their membership in central Africa, it seemed appropriate to revise the name. At the Division Council year-end meetings of 1963, in counsel with the General Conference, the division committee voted to approve the name, Trans-Africa Division, believing that it more accurately reflected their scope of territory at the time.48 The General Conference Committee approved the recommended name at their first committee meeting held on January 2, 1964.

The evangelism contribution of educational evangelism cannot go without mention, especially since it was reported at the General Conference Session of 1966 that the Trans-Africa Division had a quarter of the educational institutions in the world church at that particular time. The Trans-Africa Division operated two senior colleges that in turn had three junior colleges working under it, 13 secondary schools, and a stellar 1,054 elementary schools.49 More than eighty-six thousand five hundred twelve children and youth were being taught in all these institutions, and more than one hundred thousand had to be turned away due to limited capacity. Education ministry certainly made an indelible contribution toward the strength of the Trans-Africa Division.

Yet, another union conference was brought into the sisterhood of unions at the General Conference Session of 1966. The Southern Union Conference was organized to operate concurrently in the territory of the South African Union Conference. Whereas the South African Union Conference administered the work of the self-supporting conferences in its territory, including the Cape, Good Hope, Oranje-Natal, and Transvaal Conferences, as well as the Indian Mission Field, the Southern Union Conference was organized to administer the work of the Black African local mission fields in the same territory of South Africa, South West Africa (Namibia), Lesotho, and Swaziland.

Reorganizing the Division territory became unavoidable again when Zimbabwe’s liberation struggles imposed difficulty in international relations. Animosity between the governments of Rhodesia and Kenya spiked to such levels that by the end of 1968 church leaders deemed it impossible “for any administrative ties to exist between the church in Kenya and the headquarters in Rhodesia.”50 Consequently, an action was taken to detach the East African Union Mission from the Trans-Africa Division, and it placed it directly under the General Conference as an attached field. Effectively from January 1, 1969, the East African Union Mission reported directly to the General Conference from where they also received financial support.

The General Conference president and secretary were tasked to make an investigative trip to the affected territory in 1969 in order to assess the situation and to dialogue with the leaders on the ground level. Following much discussion, they brought a motion to the General Conference Session floor in 1970 to organize a new division comprised of the Middle East, East African, Ethiopian, and Tanzania Union Missions. Soon after the General Conference Session, the name Afro-Mideast Division was accepted by the GC Committee for the new organization.

The next union to be organized in the Trans-Africa Division was the Zambia Union Mission. In 1972 a government census in Zambia revealed that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the third largest church in Zambia with 300,000 adherents. This came as a big surprise to Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders since official church records only reflected 22,000 members.51 At the Division Committee mid-year meetings held in Malawi in 1972, a special delegation from Zambia was invited to attend for the formation part of the meetings. On May 23, 1972, the Zambia Union Mission was organized with three fields, 140 churches, and 22,291 church members on record.52 The headquarters were temporarily established in Chisekesi where the former mission field was based, although plans were put in place to secure buildings for their headquarters in the capital city of Lusaka.

The contribution of literature evangelism to increase the borders of the Trans-Africa Division can never be understated. Dedicated colporteurs often trod into un-entered areas carrying the gospel with them in the form of literature. Some would often overnight in vast expanses of uninhabited lands and fields under starry heavens protected by God from wild animals that freely roamed the African lands. Every possible effort was put forth to carry the Adventist message to every part of the sub-Saharan African continent. Some of the most notable investments were in the form of transportation to un-entered areas. Missionary planes and trucks became a determined method of carrying literature and gospel resources to secluded territories. In 1970 the Trans-Africa Division operated six airplanes to reach un-entered territories.53 The Zambesi Union invested in a large vehicle that they named “Revelation 18,” which was big enough to provide accommodation to the travelers and also had enough space to carry books across the Kalahari deserts.54

Medical ministry also remained a top priority for the division. Each union had at least one medical institution. These medical institutions were all owned and operated by the division since all unions were dependent on the division for financial support with the exception of the South African Union Conference, which was the only self-supporting union conference for many years. Funds were regularly invested in acquiring and expanding buildings for medical institutions. Today almost all union missions have become self-supporting and have therefore relieved the division from taking care of these institutions.

Dissolving the Trans-Africa Division

Discussion for major reorganizational changes was underway in the years leading up to the General Conference Session of 1980. The Seventh-day Adventist work in Africa was at the time divided up into four divisions, of which only the Trans-Africa Division had its headquarters on the African continent. During the decade of the 1970s, several correspondences were received at the General Conference that conveyed concern for the way the church was organized in Africa.

It expressed the view that our present division organization was not viewed favorably by many SDA Africans, nor by some African governments, since it gives the appearance, at least in some aspects, of holdover colonialism. Some of our African leaders and constituents also felt that the location of division headquarters in Europe and the Middle East prevented adequate opportunity for Africans to participate in leadership roles in our strongly developing African work.

The viewpoint was expressed that our African members would be challenged to take greater responsibility for the development of our work if the headquarters were located among them where they could participate more fully in leadership.55

A committee was appointed to study the situation in Africa, and consultative meetings took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from April 29 to May 2, 1979, to consider the work in Africa. The outcomes of these discussions and meetings resulted in the organizing of a new Francophone division in Africa that would have its headquarters set up in a Francophone African country. Since French was a major language in Zaire (formerly Congo), Rwanda, and Burundi, an action was taken on April 17, 1980, at the fifty-third General Conference Session to detach the Zaire and Central African Unions from the Trans-Africa Division and to organize into a new division along with the Indian Ocean, Nigerian, West African, and West Central African Unions. This new division became known as the Africa-Indian Ocean Division. At that stage the Trans-Africa Division was maintained on a temporary basis but with a recommendation to effect changes to the Afro-Mideast and Trans-Africa Divisions by the 1984 Annual Council.

In harmony with the above action, the General Conference Committee further voted on October 9, 1983, to dissolve the Trans-Africa Division by incorporating the South-East Africa, Zambesi, and Zambia Unions and the Botswana Field into the Eastern Africa Division, which already administered the East African, Ethiopian, and Tanzanian Unions.56 The Trans-Africa Division Headquarters in Harere, Zimbabwe, also became the headquarters of the newly realigned Eastern Africa Division while the former Eastern Africa Division headquarters in Nairobi was made a branch office of the division headquarters. Due to the political climate that prevailed in South Africa at the time regarding the Apartheid regime, the South African and Southern Unions were placed under the direct care of the General Conference as attached fields. This new reorganization spanned over the next 20 years until 2003.

Eastern Africa Division

As soon as the Eastern Africa Division was realigned by merging the previous Eastern Africa Division with the Trans-Africa Division unions, less the two unions in South Africa, they focused their energy and resources on a major evangelistic effort they named One Thousand Days of Reaping. Their goal was set to baptize 222,000 new believers. In the end, they recorded 156,377 baptisms,57 just over 70 percent of their target.

Another significant achievement during this time was growing the Botswana Field, which was attached to the division into two fields. Soon after the realignment, in 1984, the Botswana Field was split into two fields; namely, the North Botswana and South Botswana Fields and remained attached to the division. Even though Botswana was one of the smallest constituencies in the division, its great work in terms of medical ministry spoke such volumes that it enjoyed special recognition by the country’s president, Quett Masire, when Dr. Karl Seligmann, who operated a medical institution in Gabarone, was honored by the national president himself.58

The Eastern Africa Division boasted the largest membership throughout the world. Recognizing the immense growth rates of the Eastern Africa Division, the General Conference held its Annual Council in 1988 in Africa for the first time.

In October 1988 the Eastern Africa Division was graced with the convening of the first-ever Annual Council on the African continent. The council was held at the Jomo Kenyatta Conference Center in Nairobi, Kenya, with a grand celebration at Nyayo National Stadium on Sabbath, October 8. These experiences have brought us unforgettable joy, confidence, and motivation to finish work.59

Special mention can be made of Zambia and Zimbabwe, which both went through membership growth spurts during the 1985--1990 quinquennium. The Eastern Africa Division launched the Harvest 90 initiative in which unions needed to work toward the desired goal of baptisms in 1990. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe not only surpassed their goals and more than doubled their memberships, but they also reached their goals in 1989 already–one year before the conclusion of the Harvest 90 timeline. With 74,116 baptisms, Zambia grew its membership to 121,368, while Zimbabwe grew to 136,631 with its more than sixty-five thousand baptisms.60 Following their trend of membership growth was Malawi, which managed to baptize 31,500 new members during the Harvest 90 campaigns, bringing their total membership from 64,500 to 96,000 at the time.

The following quinquennium saw an even greater increase in members. The Penetration 95 launched by the Eastern Africa Division targeted 700,000 baptisms by 1995 and desired to establish a Seventh-day Adventist presence in 896 identified un-entered areas.61 Great success attended the work of the Eastern Africa Division as they managed to achieve over 86 percent of their baptismal targets with 606,935 baptisms and nearly 80 percent of their target to plant the Seventh-day Adventist work in un-entered areas when they raised the work in 710 of the identified un-entered areas.

Between 1995 and 2000, the Eastern Africa Division operated on the Saturation 2000 evangelistic program. Notable achievements during this time were their efforts to enrich the youth of the church. Realizing that the future of the church depends on how the youth are nurtured, the Eastern Africa Division invested in several youth-ministry programs. These included a division-wide youth congress held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, which brought together more than three thousand youths. Two massive Pathfinder Camporees were held, one in Zomba, Malawi, with more than fifteen hundred attendees and another in Uganda with more than three thousand attendees.62 During this time the Eastern Africa Division also organized an association “for the nurturing and reclaiming of pastors' children.”63 The association became known as Pastor’s Kids Association (PAKIA).

Uniting the South African Union Conference and the Southern Union

The situation in South Africa caused much discomfort for the church. Two separate union conference organizations existed to serve the same territory, although divided along racial lines. A Commission on Church Unity was organized by the General Conference Committee during their Spring Meeting held in Takoma Park, D.C., on April 8, 1981, to study the promotion of church unity in South Africa. A concerned delegate quoted from Scripture and the writings of Ellen White speaking on church unity and questioned whether the inspired counsel on church unity was applicable in South Africa.64 By the 1990s it became clear to church leaders that the circumstances in South Africa were not in accordance with the church’s fundamental belief on Unity in the Body of Christ. As such, the GC Committee established a Commission to the Church in South Africa during 1990 to determine ways and means of how the church in South Africa could be united.65 The chairperson of the commission, Jan Paulsen, reported during the Spring Meetings of the following year that the commission recommended that the two unions in South Africa be merged to organize one union conference. This was achieved at a special combined session held at Helderberg College in Somerset West, South Africa, on December 10, 1991. The South African Union Conference and the Southern Union Mission merged to organize the Southern Africa Union Conference. The Southern Africa Union Conference continued to be an attached field of the General Conference until 2003.

Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division

By the year 2000, the Seventh-day Adventist Church membership on the continent of Africa surpassed four million. Such notable growth demanded the attention of the World Church leaders, who determined that it was necessary to reorganize the work in Africa. A “Commission on Africa” was established by the General Conference Committee. This commission reported to the GC Spring Meeting held on April 17, 2002. The commission reported that “a review of the current social, political, and economic realities and Seventh-day Adventist Church infrastructure serving the African continent indicates new opportunities for more efficient and effective alignment of division territories.”66

By then, two divisions and one attached field were operating in Africa, the Africa-Indian Ocean Division, the Eastern Africa Division, and the Southern Africa Union Conference. The Commission proposed the realignment of the territory of Africa into three divisions to come into effect on January 1, 2003. These three divisions were the East-Central Africa Division, the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, and the West-Central Africa Division. The Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division was officially organized on November 14, 2002, with its headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe, where the former Eastern Africa Division headquarters were located. The Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division was comprised of the Angola, Indian Ocean, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia Union Missions, the North and South Botswana Fields, and the Southern Africa and Zimbabwe Union Conferences. Its territory included Angola, Ascension, Botswana, British Indian Ocean Territories, Comoro Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe, St Helena and Tristan Da Cunha Islands, Swaziland, Republic of South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Most significant about this reorganization was that it absorbed the Southern Africa Union Conference, which was an attached field of the General Conference. It also brought back the administrative care for the Angola and Mozambique unions to Africa from Europe, where their former divisional headquarters were based. Intensive leadership training was provided for these two Lusophone countries in order to ease their transition, considering their unique contexts and civil wars that resulted in major social and economic setbacks.67 Another significant change brought about by this reorganizing was that the SID now had three official languages to cater for instead of just one–English, Portuguese, and French.

At the 2003 Annual Council, the General Conference voted to approve the organization of the Botswana Union Mission as constituted of the North and South Botswana fields to be effective from January 1, 2004.68 Furthermore, the Zambia Union Mission was granted union conference status effective from August 12, 2004.

During the first three years since its reorganization, the SID prioritized the following eight focus areas as reported: growth, spiritual nurture, unity, self-support, leadership training, ministry to minorities, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and Christian education.69 Of special note is the fight against HIV/AIDS since the largest concentration of people living with HIV/AIDS or affected by it in one way or another is in sub-Saharan Africa, which largely comprises the SID territory. In response to this global epidemic, the SID opened orphanages in its territory to care for orphans whose parents succumbed to the dreadful virus and trained lay members on how to care for persons living with the HIV/AIDS.70

During the 2005-2010 quinquennium, the SID shifted its focus and resources to five particular needs that were implemented throughout the division.71 The first was the Epaphras Ministry, which was a call to prayer. The second was known as Paul’s Method, which was a challenge to train and equip people to become active soul winners. The third was the Hezekiah Operation, which promoted the need for all its institutions to become self-supporting. Fourth was the Haggai Venture, which was a call to invest into building up the infrastructure of the church and its institutions. The fifth was the Zechariah Project, which was a call to evangelism. As a result of this missionary focus, the SID recorded, among other growth and development successes, the largest VOP graduation ever held globally. This graduation took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, where the Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspondence School confirmed 25,000 graduates.

The following years told of further development and growth in the SID with the organization of new unions and several union missions becoming self-supporting. The Angola Union Mission was reorganized into two union missions known as the North-Eastern Angola Union Mission and the South-Western Angola Union Mission, effective from 2010. The Botswana Union Mission and the Indian Ocean Union Mission were both upgraded to become the Botswana Union Conference and Indian Ocean Union Conference, respectively, effective from October 16, 2013. The Malawi Union Mission, too, was conferred with union conference status effective from June 1, 2015, and became the Malawi Union Conference. In April 2015, Zambia became the first country in SID, and the fourth globally (the U.S.A., Brazil, and India taking the lead), whose Adventist Church membership surpassed one million.72 The Zambia Union Conference was also reorganized into two union conferences known as the North Zambia Union Conference and the South Zambia Union Conference, effective from September 23, 2015.73 The last and final territorial reorganization to date for SID concerned the country of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Union Conference was reorganized into three union conferences, Zimbabwe Central Union Conference, Zimbabwe East Union Conference, and the Zimbabwe West Union Conference, all in effect from January 1, 2018.

Division Headquarters

When the African Division first came into operation in 1920, they occupied the buildings in Grove Street, Claremont, in Cape Town, South Africa, which the South African Union Conference vacated for their use.74 The division headquarters operated from there until 1957. With Cape Town located at the southern extreme of the division territory while more rapid membership growth was taking place in the northern territories, it became impractical to manage the division from Cape Town. “In view of the accelerated growth and development of our mission work in central Africa”75 in the years leading up to 1956, the Division Committee voted at their 1956 mid-year meetings to consider relocating their headquarters. The GC Autumn Council of 1956 voted to approve their request believing that such a relocation would help the Southern African Division to integrate African leadership and provide closer supervision of the missionary program.

The Southern African Division purchased an acre of land in Newlands, Salisbury, and relocated to a temporary address along 4 Park Street, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) on April 1, 1957. Within one year the new division headquarters buildings along Princess Drive and Enterprise Road, Newlands, Salisbury, were ready to be occupied and were officially opened and dedicated on April 11, 1958.76 The opening ceremony was attended by special guests, including Sir Malcolm Barrow, Federal Minister of Home Affairs, L. J. Boshoff, the Mayor of Salisbury, and Mr. E. Dumbuchana, a prominent African journalist in the federation.

By the time the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division was organized in 2003, the territorial rearrangement presented practical difficulties. Most surrounding countries could not access Zimbabwe with ease. This along with Zimbabwe’s rapidly declining economic growth necessitated another relocation of the division headquarters. At the time, South Africa had the most promising economic growth with direct flights to and from all areas in the division territory. Consequently, the SID requested approval from the General Conference, which approved their request for relocation at the GC Spring Meetings on April 13, 2005.77

A property in Pretoria, South Africa, along Route 21 Corporate Park, was purchased along with staff housing in the Irene Farm Villages development. The division relocated there in December 2006 and began operating from there since January 2007 to date.

Executive Officers Chronology

African Division

Presidents: William H. Branson (1919-1930); John Francis Wright (1930 to1931)

Executive Secretaries: W. B. Commin (1920-1927); A. E. Nelson (1927-1931)

Treasurers/CFOs: W. B. Commin (1920-1927); A. E. Nelson (1927-1931)

Southern African Division

Presidents: John Francis Wright (1931-1941); Nathaniel C. Wilson (1941 to 1942); Charles W. Bozarth (1942-1951); Ralph S. Watts (1951-1958); Robert H. Pierson (1958-1964)

Executive Secretaries: A. E. Nelson (1931-1933); A. Floyd Tarr (1933 to 1934); Milton Robison (1934-1946); F. G. Clifford (1946-1954); W. Duncan Eva (1954-1964)

Treasurers/CFOs: A. E. Nelson (1931-1936); Charles W. Bozarth (1936-1942); I. J. Harrison (1942 to 1943); E. A. Moon (1943-1954); K. F. Ambs (1954-1958); R. M. Reinhard (1958- 1964)

Trans-Africa Division

Presidents: Robert H. Pierson (1964-1966); Merle L. Mills (1966-1980); Kenneth J. Mittleider (1980-1983)

Executive Secretaries: W. Duncan Eva (1964-1966); M. E. Lind (1966-1970); R. E. Clifford (1970-1980); Alf E. Birch (1980-1983)

Treasurers/CFOs: R. M. Reinhard (1964-1968); V. A. Fenn (1968-1971); R. H. Roderick (1971-1976); M. B. Musgrave (1976-1980); John F. Wilkens (1980-1983)

Eastern Africa Division

Presidents: Bekele Heye (1983-1992); L. D. Raelly (1992-2000); Pardon K. Mwansa (2000-2003)

Executive Secretaries: Donald J. Sandstrom (1983-1985); Ralph P. Baily (1985-1990); L. D. Raelly (1990-1992); Bekele Biri (1992-2000); Blasious M. Ruguri (2000 to 2003)

Treasurers/CFOs: John F. Wilkens (1983-1985); Ronald Lindsey (1985-1990); Gary B. DeBoer (1990-1995); Jose R. Lizardo (1995-2003)

Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division

Presidents: Pardon K. Mwansa (2003-2005); Paul S. Ratsara (2005-2017); Solomon Maphosa (2017-2022); Harrington S. Akombwa (2022-Present)

Executive Secretaries: Paul S. Ratsara (2003-2005); Solomon Maphosa (2005-2017); Gideon P. Reyneke (2017-Present)

Treasurers/CFOs: Jannie Bekker (2003-2008); Goodwell Nthani (2008-2017); Hopekings K. Ngomba (2017-Present)

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Cripps, Jean. “New Division Headquarters Officially Opened.” Southern African Division Outlook, May 15, 1958.

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____________. “Extracts From the Minutes of the Third Biennial Council of the African Division.” African Division Outlook, July 15, 1925.

Eva, W. Duncan. “Our Sixth Union.” Southern African Division Outlook, August 15, 1960.

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “Minutes of the General Conference Committee.” Takoma Park, D. C.: General Conference, May 26, 1914.

____________. “Minutes of the General Conference Committee.” Loma Linda, CA: General Conference, November 21, 1915.

____________. “Minutes of the General Conference Committee.” Boulder, CO: General Conference, October 8 – 17, 1919.

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____________. “Minutes of the Two Hundred Fortieth Meeting of the General Conference Committee.” Takoma Park, D. C.: General Conference, July 23, 1931.

____________. “Minutes of the Five Hundred Tenth Meeting General Conference Committee.” San Francisco, CA: General Conference, July 10, 1950.

____________. “Minutes of the Fourth Meeting General Conference Committee.” San Francisco, CA: General Conference Committee, July 23, 1950.

____________. “Minutes of the One Hundred Thirty-Sixth Meeting General Conference Committee.” Takoma Park, D.C.: General Conference, June 30, 1960.

____________. “Minutes of the One Hundred Sixty-Third Meeting General Conference Committee.” Takoma Park, D.C.: General Conference, October 31, 1960.

____________. “Commission on Africa – Report.” Silver Spring, MD: General Conference, April 17, 2002.

____________. “Minutes of the General Conference Spring Meeting.” Silver Spring, MD: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, April 13, 2005.

Heye, Bekele. “What God has Wrought.” ARH, July 4, 1985.

Heye, Bekele. “To God be the Glory.” ARH, July 11, 1990.

Hills, Desmond B. “Division Committee Members Delayed by Hijackers.” Trans-Africa Division Outlook, July 15, 1972.

“Joint Meeting of the South African Union Conference and Southern Union Mission Field.” African Division Outlook. March 15, 1922.

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Knight, George R. Organizing to Beat the Devil. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2001.

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Mills, Merle L. “Report of the Trans-Africa Division.” ARH, June 17, 1970.

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Musoma, P. O. “Tanganyika Mission Field.” Southern African Division Outlook, May 1, 1941.

Mwansa, Pardon. “The Report of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division: Facing the Future with Confidence.” ARH, July 6, 2005.

Pantalone, Antonio. “An Appraisal of the Development of Seventh-day Adventist Mission in South Africa a Missiological Evaluation.” M.A. thesis, University of Durban Westville, 1996.

Piercy, Ivan M. “Progress in Zambia.” Trans-Africa Division Outlook, April 15, 1972.

Pierson, Robert H. “The Southern African Division.” ARH, July 31, 1962.

___________. “Change of Name for the Division.” Trans-Africa Division Outlook, February 15, 1964.

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Raelly, L. D. “The Lord has Blessed Us.” ARH, July 3, 1995.

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____________. “The Southern African Division.” ARH, June 23, 1958.

White, N. G. “Biennial Meeting.” The South African Missionary, February 15, 1921.

White, W. B. “Rhodesia and Nyasaland.” The South African Missionary, January 30, 1917.

____________. “Union Conference Committee July 13-22.” The South African Missionary, August 15, 1919.

Wright, J. F. “A Further Cut in Appropriations and Important Division Committee Actions.” Southern African Division Outlook, June 1, 1932.

Notes

  1. “Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 2022), 342 – 342.

  2. SIDMedia NPC, “About Us,” SIDMedia, n.d., accessed March 28, 2023, https://sidmedia.org/about-us/.

  3. Ibid.

  4. George R. Knight, Organizing to Beat the Devil (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2001), 60.

  5. “Seventh-day Adventist Statistics, 1886,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Battle Creek, MI: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1887), 48.

  6. Grant Lottering, “South Africa, Republic of,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, August 7, 2021, accessed September 22, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6GZY.

  7. Grant Lottering, “Southern Africa Union Conference,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, February 26, 2021, accessed September 22, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8DD5.

  8. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D. C.: General Conference, May 26, 1914), 162.

  9. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the General Conference Committee,” (Loma Linda, CA: General Conference, November 21, 1915), 367.

  10. W. B. White, “Rhodesia and Nyasaland,” The South African Missionary, January 30, 1917, 1.

  11. “South African Union Conference,” Annual Statistical Report (Washington D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1918), 6.

  12. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the General Conference Committee,” (Boulder, CO: General Conference, October 8 – 17, 1919), 407-408.

  13. Ibid., 408.

  14. Ibid., 409.

  15. Ibid., 443.

  16. W. B. White, “Union Conference Committee July 13-22,” The South African Missionary, August 15, 1919, 3.

  17. W. H. Branson, “Greeting,” The South African Missionary, September 15, 1920, 1.

  18. W. B. Commin, “African Division Conference,” The South African Missionary, September 15, 1920, 12.

  19. Ibid.

  20. N. G. White, “Biennial Meeting,” The South African Missionary, February 15, 1921, 2.

  21. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D. C.: General Conference, December 15, 1921), 1261.

  22. “Joint Meeting of the South African Union Conference and Southern Union Mission Field,” African Division Outlook, March 15, 1922, 2.

  23. E. C. Boger, “Superintendent’s Report of the Congo Union Mission for Two Years Ending December 31, 1924,” African Division Outlook, July 1, 1925, 5.

  24. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the Two Hundred Eighty-Fourth Meeting of the General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D.C.: General Conference, July 9, 1924), 679.

  25. W. B. Commin, “Report of Annual Council of the African Division Committee,” African Division Outlook, February 15, 1924, 3.

  26. W. B. Commin, “Extracts From the Minutes of the Third Biennial Council of the African Division,” African Division Outlook, July 15, 1925, 2.

  27. Ibid.

  28. Ibid.

  29. W. H. Branson, “Two Important Councils,” African Division Outlook, November 22, 1928, 1.

  30. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the Two Hundred Fortieth Meeting of the General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D. C.: General Conference, July 23, 1931), 383.

  31. “Some of the Resolutions Passed at the Division Council,” Southern African Division Outlook, August 1, 1931, 7.

  32. J. F. Wright, “A Further Cut in Appropriations and Important Division Committee Actions,” Southern African Division Outlook, June 1, 1932, 1.

  33. P. O. Musoma, “Tanganyika Mission Field,” Southern African Division Outlook, May 1, 1941, 4.

  34. J. F. Wright, “An Open Letter,” Southern Africa Division Outlook, September 1, 1941, 1.

  35. Milton Robison, “C. W. Bozarth Division President,” Southern Africa Division Outlook, May 1, 1942, 1.

  36. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “One Hundred Seventeenth Meeting General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D.C.: General Conference, April 27, 1942), 419.

  37. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Five Hundred Tenth Meeting General Conference Committee,” (San Francisco, CA: General Conference, July 10, 1950), 1934.

  38. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the Fourth Meeting General Conference Committee,” (San Francisco, CA: General Conference Committee, July 23, 1950), 33.

  39. R. S. Watts, “The Southern African Division,” ARH, June 6, 1954, 277.

  40. Ibid., 276.

  41. R. S. Watts, “The Southern African Division,” ARH, June 23, 1958, 61.

  42. W. Duncan Eva, “Our Sixth Union,” Southern African Division Outlook, August 15, 1960, 3-4.

  43. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the One Hundred Thirty-Sixth Meeting General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D.C.: General Conference, June 30, 1960), 632.

  44. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the One Hundred Sixty-Third Meeting General Conference Committee,” (Takoma Park, D.C.: General Conference, October 31, 1960), 774.

  45. W. R. Vail, “Central African Union,” Southern African Division Outlook, January 15, 1963, 23.

  46. Robert H. Pierson, “The Southern African Division,” ARH, July 31, 1962, 85-86.

  47. W. R. Beach, “The General Conference Secretary’s Report,” ARH, July 29, 1962, 21.

  48. Robert H. Pierson, “Change of Name for the Division,” Trans-Africa Division Outlook, February 15, 1964, 1.

  49. Robert H. Pierson, “Trans-Africa Division,” ARH, June 21, 1966, 87.

  50. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the One Hundred Sixtieth Meeting General Conference Committee,” (Washington, D.C.: General Conference, December 12, 1968), 1321.

  51. Ivan M. Piercy, “Progress in Zambia,” Trans-Africa Division Outlook, April 15, 1972, 5.

  52. Desmond B. Hills, “Division Committee Members Delayed by Hijackers,” Trans-Africa Division Outlook, July 15, 1972, 1.

  53. Merle L. Mills, “Report of the Trans-Africa Division,” ARH, June 17, 1970, 121.

  54. Merle L. Mills, “Dividend-paying Investments,” ARH, April 25, 1980, 573.

  55. “Session Actions: Reorganization of African Affairs,” ARH, April 20, 1980, 436.

  56. “Africa Territorial Reorganization,” ARH, June 30, 1985, 703.

  57. Bekele Heye, “What God has Wrought,” ARH, July 4, 1985, 821.

  58. Ibid., 822.

  59. Bekele Heye, “To God be the Glory,” ARH, July 11, 1990, 826.

  60. Ibid., 827.

  61. L. D. Raelly, “The Lord has Blessed Us,” ARH, July 3, 1995, 781.

  62. L. D. Raelly, “Beyond Conventional Means,” ARH, July 5, 2000, 1060.

  63. Ibid.

  64. Charles Makombe in “Third Business Meeting,” ARH, July 1, 1985, 740.

  65. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of General Conference Committee,” (Silver Spring, MD: General Conference, October through December 1990), 5.

  66. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Commission on Africa – Report,” (Silver Spring, MD: General Conference, April 17, 2002), 22.

  67. Pardon Mwansa, “The Report of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division: Facing the Future with Confidence,” ARH, July 6, 2005, 1128.

  68. Claude Sabot, “Proceedings,” ARH, July 3, 2005, 1043.

  69. Mwansa, “Report of the SID,” 1129.

  70. Ibid.

  71. Paul S. Ratsara, “Report of the Southern-Africa-Indian Ocean Division,” ARH, June 27, 2010, 26-28.

  72. Andrew McChesney, “GC Delegates Approve Record 35 New Union Conferences,” GC Session Bulletin, July 5, 2015, 12.

  73. Tamara K. Boward, “Session Actions: 60th General Conference Session July 2, 2015, 9:25 a.m.,” GC Session Bulletin, July 5, 2015, 45.

  74. Antonio Pantalone, “An Appraisal of the Development of Seventh-day Adventist Mission in South Africa a Missiological Evaluation” (M.A. thesis, University of Durban Westville, 1996), 65.

  75. R. S. Watts, “Removal of Division Headquarters to Salisbury,” Southern African Division Outlook, March 15, 1957, 2.

  76. Jean Cripps, “New Division Headquarters Officially Opened,” Southern African Division Outlook, May 15, 1958, 1.

  77. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, “Minutes of the General Conference Spring Meeting,” (Silver Spring, MD: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, April 13, 2005), 17.

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Lottering, Grant. "Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. June 13, 2023. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CD4D.

Lottering, Grant. "Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. June 13, 2023. Date of access June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CD4D.

Lottering, Grant (2023, June 13). Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CD4D.