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: 2pm - 4pm
Regina Mundi is the largest Roman Catholic Church in South Africa. The Latin 'Reginae Mundi'
means "Queen of the World" and refer to the Virgin Mary. The church was built in 1961 and
official opened on the 24th of July 1962 by Johannes Baptista Montini, a cardinal of Milan.
Located in the middle of Soweto, in Rockville, in the neighbourhood of Moroka, from afar you're
greeted by the A-shaped exterior of the building which is quite ordinary in design. Its main
feature is the vast interior that can accommodate as much as 2000-5000 people.
The Church first wrote its name in South Africa's history books during apartheid, when it opened
its doors to anti-apartheid groups and provided shelter to activists. It was during the June 16,
1976 student uprisings, protesting students fled to Regina Mundi from Orlando Stadium to
escape the police's bullets and teargas canisters. The police followed the students into the
church, firing live ammunition and damaging the marble altar and crucifix. Bullet holes are still
visible in the church ceiling and damaged marble stand provide tangible evidence of the violence
of these police raids and the ensuring rush to evacuate the building.
Due to the role it played as a place of gathering for the people of Soweto in the years before,
during, and after the anti-apartheid struggle, it is often referred to as
"the people's church" of "the people's cathedral". From 1995 to 1998,
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu presided over Truth and
Reconciliation Commission hearings at Regina Mundi.
Later, in 1997, Nelson Mandela established 30 November as
"Regina Mundi Day" to honour the church.
Artworks donated to the Church are displayed within the building and
include stain-glass windows Annunciation, by the Jolanta
Kwasaniewska and unveiled in 1998.
Regina Mundi continues to play an important role in the social life of
Soweto. Weddings, funerals, baptisms of leading personalities and
their families as well as ordinary people take place here.
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"Our Parish Mission is now! Come Holy Spirit and Renew the people of Regina Mundi."