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The Temple can trace its roots back to 8 March 1992, when the Bronkhorstspruit City Council, under its chief executive and former church minister, Dr Hennie Senekal, who had previously visited Taiwan to promote investment opportunities in his town, donated six hectares of land to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order for a Chinese Buddhist cultural and educational complex. The Fo Guang Shan Religious Affairs Committee subsequently sent Venerable Hui Li to be the founding abbot of the temple, whose main aim is to promote Buddhism on the African continent. Construction began in October 1992; the eventual cost of the temple complex was sixty million South African rand. Since then the Temple itself, as well as the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple Guesthouse, African Buddhist Seminary (ABS), Nan Hua Village, Assembly Hall, and a Pureland Ch'an retreat centre have been built. Nan Hua Buddhist Temple has opened branches in other South African cities, in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Newcastle, Durban and Cape Town. They are also very active in community, charity, cultural and prison outreach programmes. The main temple was officially opened in 2005 by the seventh and current worldwide head abbot, Most Venerable Hsin-Pei.