Over three quarters of the population claim to be religious.
Religion in South Africa varies from local religions to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. A quarter of the population belong to a local religion, 20% to an independent church, 36% are Christian and 5% support another world religion. The Bushmen, Hottentots and the Bantu had their own religions long before the arrival of the whites. In these indigenous religions the group plays an important role this makes them quite different from the more individual religious convictions of the West. The original Christian church is the Nederduits Reformed Church. Dutch immigrants founded this in the second half of the 17th century with a very strong Calvinistic character. During and after the period of the Great Trek, two new churches evolved; the Hervormde Kerk van Afrika and the extraordinarily conservative Gereformeerde Kerk van Afrika. All three had only white members. Out of discontent with western religious convictions in the missionary churches, a black group established the first indigenous Christian church. These independent churches were (and are) exclusively for the black population.
Durban and Cape Town are the centres of the Islamic community in South Africa. The Muslims are descendants of slaves from Malaysia and seasonal workers from India. Nevertheless, most of the Indian population practice Hinduism. There is a small Jewish community that has its roots in Eastern Europe.