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A.T. Muzorewa: Better Images of Africa

Excerpts of presentation given at the Universal Peace Federation Assembly, September 12, 2007, New York City

When you hear about Africa and peace, what comes to mind? Among people in the street, what comes to mind is animals and snakes, and all the rest. But I think that in this assembly we know better. We have better images that come to our minds.

When the word Africa in the context of peace is mentioned, I don’t blame you if you think of Africa as ruined by colonialism. Africa has scars of oppression and colonialism, scars of wars, coups and counter-coups. Africa has scars and wounds of severe poverty. Those are the images that come to people’s minds when we talk about Africa in the context of peace.

In Africa, when the poverty is so severe, people ask me, is God for Africa, too? When they go without food, there is tendency to ask, is God for Africa, too? Thank God, Africa is for all of us. And for all the things that have gone on in the past and those that may be in the present, we thank God because now we can feel protected, not by armies but by peace. If peace is created in Africa, as we are in the process of creating it, then and then only will Africa be protected — not by guns, not by bombs, but by peace.

Father Moon has blown the trumpet to all of us, including us in Africa. Africa is to dance to the tune of peace, and we are doing it. We want to congratulate Africa because we have conquered a lot of obstacles. We have gone quite a lot of miles in the liberation of people of our countries. We have gone quite a lot of miles in the liberation of women, because now in Africa you can find them even in the highest office of the nations. So we think we are moving in the right direction.

But we need to do more. We need to do better. In 1963 I was studying in America, and the day I went to take a plane at JF Kennedy Airport I gave the taxi driver a tip. He had taken me from the city to the airport, and unfortunately I did not know better, so I gave him 25 cents. The man looked at me and said, “Man, can’t you do better than that?” I was so embarrassed. The Board of Missions secretary came to see me off, and I told him what I had done. I thought I was saving the church money, because I was to account for what I spent. He responded, “Can’t we do better than that?” People speak about the liberation of women, our concern for the children. I ask, can’t we do better than that?

Now I want to say something about Africa and peace. We are so thankful that in African culture there is the system of the extended family. I know you don’t like it over here, because it takes a lot of dollars from you if you practice it. But it is so saturated with the elements of loving, caring, sharing, forgiveness, and embracing that it is a good ground for planting the principles of the Universal Peace Federation. We already have the basis of peace in our culture. It is so wonderful! There are fewer old people’s homes in Africa, because people take care of their old ones in their extended family until they die. Over here, if you have no money you are nobody. But in my country you can go forever and ever being taken care of by your family, even if you have no money. This is the basis where peace can work and work very well.

In the future, if Africa is going to be a peaceful place and dominated by peace, we are going to have to look for leaders who practice introspection and self examination, leaders with a big capacity for love, and leaders who have the capacity to forgive others. We have to look for leaders who practice a lifestyle based on the golden rule, empathize with others, and love freedom for themselves and others.