During 1976 people from all over Durban and surrounding areas moved into new houses in the newly established Township of Phoenix. There was no place of worship for the people who were now living in Greenbury, Rainham, Stonebridge and Clayfield. Good concerned people like Thiru Thoppai, Thiru T.Palan, Thiru Larry Moonsamy and others realised that there was a dire need for collective worship for the people living in these areas. They knew the only way they could achieve this was to form a religious group and thereby provide an opportunity for collective worship. Thiru Thoppai started a Tamil School at a temporary community centre established by the Community Liaison section of the Health Department. Thiru Captain Mariemuthu assisted in securing this venue, who was at that time the community liaison worker for Phoenix. Six months later Thiru Thoppai approached Thiru Mariemuthu again seeking permission to use the same venue for Sunday morning services. Thus started the Phoenix Branch of the Saiva Sithantha Sungum, the first religious organisation to be established in Phoenix. Sunday services, cottage services and Tamil classes were being conducted by the Branch and it now started gaining great momentum. However, within ten months of its existence the Branch was dealt a severe blow when Thiru Thoppai passed away. Swami Sivananda Navalar who was then the Spiritual Head of the Sungum appointed Thiru Manivel Perumal (now Swami Siva Yogananda the Spiritual Head of the Sungum) as the Guru of this branch. The Branch moved its services to the Greenheights Primary School and subsequently to the Hopeville Primary School. The growing congregation necessitated the building of a temple. Guru Manivel Perumal secured the worship site from the City Estates Department with the help of Swami Sivananda Navalar and Thiru Ganas Moodley, to build the temple. The branch managed to raise its cash assets to R100 000, through various fundraising efforts . With the afore-mentioned amount in the bank, the Branch commenced with one of the most important milestones in its existence, the building project. The first phase of the building project comprising a dining-room, kitchen and toilets, was completed at a cost of R500 000 largely through the donations and sponsorships that were received. In 2000 Guru Manivel Perumal was initiated into the Divine Order and lovingly given the name of Swami Siva Yogananda and inducted as the Spiritual Head of the Sungum. The Branch continues its activities and services with the same level of zeal and enthusiasm. Thirumathi Gonam Perumal is the present guru in the branch. The Branch then moved from the Hopeville Primary School to the temple premises in Rainham Road where it started expanding its activities on the premises. The 1st phase of the building, the dining hall downstairs, was used to hold Sunday morning services and other functions, including weddings, memorial services, etc. It is through the grace of the Divine Providence that Sister Saras Perumal came into telephonic contact with Dr Chetty (R.B.Chetty Trust) and requested his help for the second phase of our building. The superstructure is the second phase of the project which was completed through the loving donation and loan from Dr Chetty and his family. Over the years, many individuals, officials and members, too many to mention by names, have contributed immensely to the upliftment of our culture and in planning and building this magnificent temple. After many months of preparation a grand opening was realised on 8 July 2008. The opening was attended by the local community and many well known personalities including the Deputy Mayor of Durban Thiru Logie Naidoo. The temple was appropriately and officially opened by Thirumathi Sarala Devi Chetty, daughter-in-law of the late Thiru R.B.Chetty. The 70th Anniversary of the Sungum was also celebrated, the official plaque was unveiled by the Consul General of India Thiru Harsh Shringla.
The services provided by the branch, which include religious services and festivals, yoga classes, meditation classes, counseling services, seminars, lectures and workshops, skills training and developments and clinics, to both the aged and the indigent.
The newly built Sungum premises also houses the R.B.Chetty Hall, is situated at 109/111 Rainham Road, Rainham, Phoenix and is offered to the community for use. The building comprises a large hall (including the shrine), which seats +/- 500 people cinema style and a dining hall which seats +/- 300 people. The building is paraplegic friendly, which also helps the aged and sick with easy accessibility to the building. It is for hire to the public for weddings, pre-wedding celebrations, memorial services, funerals, christenings, etc. We also offer to the public full wedding packages at reasonable costs, and also cater for sit down weddings. Devotees of the organisation under the guidance of the Branch Guru offer their services to the community at funerals, memorial service, etc. The branch activities currently include :- Sunday : Morning Service 09h10h00 Monday : Pranayama and Meditation 19h00 20h00 Tuesday : Tamil School 19h00 20h00 Hatha Yoga 19h00 20h00 Wednesday : Skills training for the unemployed 10h00 12h00 Thursday : Music Classes Devotional singing 19h00 20h00 Friday : Classical dancing by Verushka Pather 16h00 18h00 Saturday : Hatha Yoga 07h00 to 08h00 Music Classes instrumental and classical singing 09h00 to 12h00 Although the premises is in full use, both by the devotees and the community, the organisation is still in need of completing the infrastructure, which includes paving of the parking area, air-conditioning, window blinds, etc. Our Vision : To establish a spiritual, cultural, health and welfare centre that responds to the holistic needs of the community for their better life and living. Our Aim : The Greenbury Branch of the Sungum has been working very closely with the community of Phoenix and the surrounding areas for thirty years. The Branch provides comprehensive services to the community on an ongoing basis as detailed below :- · Religious services and festivals · Yoga classes · Meditation classes · Vocal and instrumental music and dance classes · Vernacular Education · Skills training · Bursaries · Counselling Services · Seminars, lectures and workshops · Literary classes and supplementary education for scholars · Youth activities and empowerment programmes · Health Clinics particularly to serve the aged and indigent · Blood Camp · Legal Aid Clinic · Feeding schemes · Social outreach programmes · HIV and AIDS programmes · Alternate healing programmes Our building is situated on 109/111 Rainham Road, Rainham, Phoenix and the Contact persons are Saras Perumal 031 5393840 (h) 084 4446146 (cell) Cheryl Vyapuri - 031 5027702 (h) 084 4550009 (cell) Divashnie Govender - 031 5392077 (h) 0835223700 (cell)