Regina Mundi – Queen of Soweto

first_img19 January 2004No trip to Soweto in Johannesburg is complete without a visit to Regina Mundi, the largest Catholic Church in the most populous black urban residential area in the country.Not only has the vast church always been a spiritual haven for thousands of Sowetans, it has also played a pivotal role in the township’s history of resistance against apartheid. As such it is a well-circled destination on the tourist map: every day the church opens its doors to streams of visitors keen to witness the scars it still bears from the Soweto uprisings, when police stormed through its doors, firing live ammunition at fleeing students.But both before and after the dramas of the Soweto uprisings, Regina Mundi – whose name in Latin means Queen of the World – has quietly offered its protection to those struggling for liberation. When political meetings were banned, people sought the safety of Regina Mundi – if not Queen of the World, then surely Queen of Soweto – to form their political strategies.What started out as “church services” often ended up as political rallies. Funerals, points out Father Vusi Mazibuko, who has been pastor at the church for the past four years, were often political affairs. They started off at Regina Mundi and ended up at Avalon Cemetery.When protesting students were fired at by police on their way to Orlando Stadium on June 16 1976, and Hector Pieterson and many others were killed, the students fled for sanctuary to Regina Mundi. With buckets of water at the ready, they managed to douse the teargas canisters thrown into the church by police.But then police stormed the church, firing live ammunition. Although no one was killed, many were injured and the church’s sacred symbols were damaged. The broken marble alter, the bullet holes in the ceilings and the damaged figure of Christ all bear testimony to the terrible lack of restraint shown by police that day.Regina Mundi has always been a home to the community of Soweto and has functioned as a centre for important community events. Anti-apartheid stalwart Dr Nthato Motlana once described Regina Mundi as “not just a church – it is the people’s church, the church of the nation”.And on 30 November 1997, declared Regina Mundi Day, former President Nelson Mandela paid tribute to the church during a ceremony marking its restoration. “Graduates of Regina Mundi are making important contributions to the reconstruction and development of our country. Such was the role of this church in the lives of many of us; such was the esteem with which it was held, that it popularly became known as the people’s cathedral.”“Regina Mundi served the greater Soweto community in times of need. It opened its doors to anti-apartheid activities when all other avenues were closed to the majority of oppressed . It was this stance that earned Regina Mundi a reputation as one of Gauteng’s greatest protest centres, a literal battlefield between forces of democracy and those who did not hesitate to violate a place of religion with teargas, dogs and guns. Regina Mundi became a world-wide symbol of the determination of our people to free themselves,” Mandela said.Today the church is as much “the people’s church” as ever, swamped by the demands of the community in its midst, whose needs are different but perhaps even more challenging. Though relaxed and youthful-looking in jeans and a t-shirt, Mazibuko clearly finds his job overwhelming at times. Although the daily deluge of tourists – sometimes as many as 200 a day – are taken care of by two full-time tour guides, Regina Mundi is constantly called on for assistance by the community.“It’s a busy place. People come to you in need of help and sometimes you don’t have the means to help them,” says Mazibuko. The needs of the community are great, particularly during the era of HIV/Aids, he adds. Funerals are frequent – more so because of the scourge of the disease.The rather ordinary-looking, typically 1960s building (it was built in 1964, replacing Moroka’s first church as the parish church), located almost in the middle of Soweto between Rockville and Moroka, belies the richness of its interior: the space inside is vast enough to absorb the murmur of tourists and the sense of peace is all-pervasive.Morning light shines through the beautiful stained-glass windows (donated by Poland in 1998); the renowned Black Madonna looks serenely down from her vantage point to the right of the alter and the rows and rows of gleaming pews are a welcome invitation to the thousands who attend mass every Sunday. Regina Mundi can seat 2 000 people and has space for a further 5 000 standing.The “Queen of Soweto” has come a long way since her humble beginnings. Today an impressive park built by the City of Johannesburg, with a fountain, benches and green lawns, is in front of the Church. Memorial stones, including a “peace pole” donated by Japanese Christians, and a plaque documenting the Church’s history are in evidence outside. Upstairs is an art gallery featuring photographic and art works, documenting the history of the church and the broader subjects of Soweto and Johannesburg.Not only have the grounds been restored and upgraded, but Regina Mundi has continued to play an important role in Soweto and society in general.Fittingly, Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings were held in the church from 1995 to 1998, presided over by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.In March 1998 Regina Mundi made international headlines after a visit by President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary. Clinton caused a furore among Catholics worldwide when he and his wife took Holy Communion during a two-hour service he attended at the church.Since Clinton is a Baptist and his wife a Methodist, this constituted a breach of the cardinal rules of the Catholic Church. Mazibuko says that Father Mohlomi Makobane, parish priest at the time, found it impossible to refuse the Clintons communion when they joined the rest of the congregation.According to the Los Angeles Times, Makobane said: “Let’s be practical. He’s a child of God and came willingly to share the Eucharist with us and pray with us … And he’s the most powerful man in the world . If I had denied him communion when he came with the procession . there would have been much more noise.”But the story didn’t end there. Makobane chose to base his sermon on adultery at a time when the scandal around Clinton’s adulterous affair hung heavily over the heads of the presidential pair. Makobane recalled the parable of the adulterous woman saved by Jesus Christ from being stoned to death.Newspapers gleefully reported how Clinton “became visibly uncomfortable” when Makobane read from John: 1-11. “Clinton looked sombre and rocked on his heels as the priest read the text. Mrs Clinton’s head was bowed throughout the reading.” But Makobane’s sermon preached forgiveness as Jesus forgave the adulterous woman.What next for Regina Mundi? In Mazibuko’s view, the church will continue to play the pivotal role it has done since its inception. “The church is an eye. It must see to it that justice is done.”Source: City of Johannesburg websitelast_img read more

Zim hand Bafana 2-1 friendly defeat

first_img11 September 2013Zimbabwe handed a mostly South African-based Bafana Bafana a 2-1 beating in an international friendly at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday evening.In fact, 18 of the players on the pitch at the start of the contest ply their trade in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Goalkeeper Darren Keet was the only South African who plays his football outside of the country.CHANThe line-up revealed, perhaps, some of coach Gordon Igesund’s thinking ahead of next year’s African Nations Championships (CHAN), which take place in South Africa from 11 January to 1 February.The event will feature national teams made up of only home-based players. In the Zimbabwean match, however, Igesund was unable to select any players from Orlando Pirates, who were not considered because of club commitments.Perhaps, with the Buccaneers’ players playing in their backyard, the result might have been different, but Zimbabwe were full value for their victory.Scoring chanceThe Warriors took the game to Bafana Bafana and created a scoring chance in the very first minute, but Kaizer Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona fired high over the bar.Keet was then called on to deny Kingston Nkhatha by racing off his line to deny the Amakhosi’s man run onto a long ball.Khama Billiat enjoyed a fine game and was a constant thorn in the home team’s side. He came close with a long range effort, but was just off target.After good build-up play, Bernard Parker had a chance for Bafana Bafana 10 minutes from the break, but the Zimbabwean defence scrambled and conceded a corner.Reneilwe Letsholonyane then put in a good run, but the linesman blew the call and flagged him for being offsides.LeadFive minutes into the second half, the Warriors took the lead from a corner. After bringing the ball down smartly off his chest, Musona blasted the ball past Keet, with a powerful left-footed volley that left the goalkeeper helpless.Billiat posed another question when he tried to set Nkhatha up, but Keet was aware of the danger and came out quickly to snuff it out.Parker might have levelled for South Africa, but his header was off target, passing to the right of Washington Arubi’s goal.Tsepo Masilela narrowly missed out on scoring his first goal for Bafana Bafana in the 74th minute, but his shot frustratingly passed just over the bar.Wrong callZimbabwe should have taken a 2-0 lead 10 minutes from time, but Musona was blown up for being offside. Replays suggested the linesman got it wrong again.The match passed into time added on and four minutes after the regulation 90 Cuthbert Malajila put the Warriors two goals ahead after being set up by Nkhata, whose work left the Sundowns’ man needing only a tap-in to score.Parker snatched a late consolation goal for South Africa with a shot from distance, but there was no time left to find a second goal and Zimbabwe claimed the spoils 2-1.last_img read more

Good bye Tata, from the Rainbow Nation

first_imgThank you Madiba – your magic will forever be among us all. This was a common sentiment as people mourned the passing of a legend.South Africans lost their father and the world lost an icon when Nelson Mandela – Madiba, Tata – died at 8.50pm on 5 December at home in Houghton. It has brought tears, but also a celebration of his life not just to his family and friends, but to the world.Born 18 July 1918 in Mvezo, a small village in the Eastern Cape, Mandela was the country’s first black president. But he was more than that: he was a world statesman and a universal symbol of peace, unity, forgiveness and ubuntu. Tributes continue to pour out for the father of the Rainbow Nation.Bernard Fingwana says: “I am happy the man has finally reached the end of his journey and I thank him for all he has done, for not just us but the whole world.” He leaves a legacy that has changed the lives of many people throughout the world, but above all he has left everyone with the hope of a loving home for all.“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear,” Mandela said. His words inspired many people and changed their ways of thinking.“I feel very hurt knowing that he is gone,” says Phillipa TshabitsoPhillipa Tshibitso says: “I feel very hurt knowing that he is gone. I would like to say to all South Africans that, ‘Please we must all walk in his path.’ I would love to say to his family that we are crying with them.”Mandela’s message is universal: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” he said in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.“We love you Tata and you will always be a part of everyone’s life. The nation will take all that you have done for us and keep moving towards building a world filled with peace, love and happiness… we are with his family, because Nelson Mandela is our freedom. We will pray with you and not for you,” says Mpilo Masokela.Again, Mandela’s words are inspirational: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”Weeping, Caroline Nkamboyi says: “I did not want to believe that he was gone and as soon as I accepted it I became sad. What I would love to say to his family is that they must accept it because we are here for them too.”And his legacy lives on, urging ordinary people to do the extraordinary: “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation,” he said. “We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right.”“He brought freedom into every South African’s life,” says Selina Dikeledi (Images: Bhekumuzi Madakane)Bhekumuzi MadakaneSelina Dikeledi Kitsaweng says: “It all came as a sudden shock. He brought freedom into every South African’s life. I am where I am today because of him. Tata wherever you are, thank you for everything. In a way you brought me up too, so thank you.”Forever he will be missed, and the words “we love you Tata” are being heard loud and clear across the world. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead,” he said. “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my destiny.”Gone but never forgotten, Madiba will live on in our hearts, his humility and humanity something which we can all strive to emulate. “When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?” he asked.South Africans – indeed all people – can follow his lead, working for others through his foundation, 46664, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and giving of their time on Nelson Mandela International Day, and every day.But now, to the father of the nation, it is time to say goodbye. Hamba Kahle, Tata.last_img read more

Intel, Luxottica Team Up To Create Ultimate Wearable

first_imgTags:#Google#Google Glass#Intel#Luxottica#smart glasses#Wearable Computing#wearables 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App lauren orsini 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… The fashion and tech worlds are intersecting yet again with a new partnership between Italian eyewear giant Luxottica and American technology behemoth Intel. Together, the companies will research and develop a pair of high-tech glasses, the New York Times reports. This agreement, which has been in the making for two years, will center around a research and development team of Luxottica and Intel specialists based in California. Since both companies are extremely far-reaching in their respective fields—Luxottica controls the eyewear licenses for Armani, Burberry, Chanel and many other luxury brands, while Intel chips power everything from Apple computers to, reportedly, the latest Google Glass—this partnership is poised to make waves in the world of wearable computing.See also: Intel Chip To Power Google Glass In 2015: ReportIntel has made several different fashion partnerships this year, and each of them use the company’s smallest and most energy efficient chips. For example, the company’s tech-forward MICA bracelet was designed by fashion brand Opening Ceremony. It should be noted that both companies have a relationship with Google Glass, providing either frames or a future chip to power the glasses. However, Luxottica chief executive Massimo Vian told the Times he doesn’t see this new partnership as competition toward Google Glass and neither company will be breaking off from its Google relationship.“Google Glass is a specific product we are working on,” said Vian. “With Intel, we are researching new possibilities that can be applied or offered to many brands.”Vian said consumers can expect the partnership’s to unveil its first product in 2015.Photo of Google Glass via Googlecenter_img Related Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutlast_img read more

More Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 specifications leaked

first_imgA fresh set of leaks has given out some rare specifications of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note successor. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 20, which has been nicknamed Hermes, was first spotted a month ago.Regular leakster, @upleaks is the source of the new set of leaks. According to this, the smartphone will sport a full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display, although the screen size has not been divulged yet. It is also likely to be powered by a 64-bit MediaTek MT6795, octa-core processor. Some other features include 2 or 3GB RAM, and 16GB internal memory.The device is expected to run on Android 5.0 Lollipop based MIUI 6. Other leaks reveal a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front camera.Any details regarding the availability and pricing of the smartphone are yet to be known. Notably, the launches of four new smartphones by Xiaomi were also leaked when its product roadmap for the year was revealed earlier in the month.last_img read more