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M. Ledwaba: Address to Africa Summit

Address to Africa Summit 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, Nov. 21–25, 2018


Good afternoon, everyone. I just want to recognize Dr. Thomas Walsh, representing Father and Mother Moon and the royal house of Mandela, and thank him for inviting me. Of course you were welcomed in the morning, you were greeted. But in my culture, when you meet people, you can greet them as many times as possible. So I am greeting you again, even though I have seen you so many times since the beginning of this day.

As I was sitting here listening to my fellow panelists speaking, I was looking at the posters on both sides of the auditorium. President Mandela was born in 1918, as you know. And Rev. Moon was born in 1920. They are contemporaries. These are people of the same generation. We are celebrating the legacy of Nelson Mandela today. I wonder what would have happened had Nelson Mandela and Father Moon’s paths crossed in terms of what we are trying to do, which is world peace? It’s something to think about, isn’t it?

My talk today is about the Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival. I asked Muzarewa here why I am speaking last. He said, “Because you are the host. If time is short, it means you are the one who should take the short end of the stick.” So I accept that.

The theme of the Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival is strengthening the family, rebuilding the nation and creating a world of peace. For those of us who worked with Father and Mother Moon for many years, you are aware that if there is anything they speak about continuously, it is the restoration of the family. Father Moon’s philosophy of peace is that peace starts at home. It doesn’t mean that the role of politicians is not recognized in peace-building, but Father Moon’s philosophy is that the essential component of peace building is the family. This is what I want to focus on a little bit.

You see many people getting married at the same time. Father Moon is famous for doing what is traditionally called mass weddings. People often ask, why do you marry in groups? My presentation will cover a few topics. The first one is the history of the Blessing. This was in the Philippines in 2015. We’ll be doing the Interfaith Peace Blessing on the 24th, but this is not new. As you can see here, Father and Mother Moon started this years ago.

This is a picture of those who participated in this way back in 1960, and there are quite a few of them. I’ll run through them quickly. This is just to give you an idea of what we are doing and what we are propagating. These are some of the pictures showing the number of couples who got married at a particular time, or renewed their wedding vows.

As I said, I want to go back to this because my wife and I participated in this one in 1992 in Seoul, Korea. I look at this picture and I think way back and I still have goosebumps to this day. Many of my senior brothers and sisters sitting in the audience here, including Dr. and Mrs. Walsh, also went through this.

There is a video called “The Power of True Love,” and in that video Pastor Barrett from the United States said something very interesting. He said, “You can’t work with Rev. Moon if you are not married because Rev. Moon is a marrying man.” He said, “Even these two light bulbs would believe that they should get married.”

So as you get involved with UPF you have to realize there will be some point where we have to ask you the question, “Are you married?” And if you are not, then we are going to encourage you to get married because once again, it goes back to the point I made earlier. Father and Mother Moon believe peace starts at home, in a married relationship of a man and a woman.

You look at the poster there, when Father and Mother Moon founded UPF in 2005, September 12. Father Moon said that true love is the guiding principle of the Universal Peace Federation. So anything Father and Mother Moon do, whether it’s business, whether it’s a conference of scientists, they always put this theme of the Blessing or marriage as the epicenter, for the same reason I gave before. They believe that peace starts at home, peace starts in the family. Here again are some pictures, just to give you an idea.

The other point I want to touch on as I go very fast, I’ve been showing you international pictures, but these are the pictures of the Blessing taking place in different parts of this country. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures for other African countries, but this is in Limpopo. Those of you in the audience from Limpopo would recognize this. Some of the people who participated in these blessings are even here in the audience.

What we are talking about is not just a vision, an idea. This is something that happens in practice. What is the mission of the Universal Peace Federation? It is to realize a unified world of peace and prosperity shared by all people, loving and living together in harmony, as one family under God. In the morning we listened to Mother Moon speaking, and at the tail end of her presentation she really emphasized this point of the Blessing.

UPF and Family Federation are currently present and active in more than 194 countries worldwide. The main goals are unity and peace among all people, among all religions, and between science and religion. This speaks to the fact that all the activities Father and Mother Moon propagate and carry forward, including religious activities, are not sectarian. They never had the intention of making people belong to their organization. That’s not Father and Mother Moon’s idea. Father Moon says, if you meet a Muslim, help the Muslim to become a better Muslim.

The family. Father Moon says the family is a divine design. Once again, we go back, for those of us who are biblically based—and I don’t want to be offensive to anybody—but God created in pairs. In order for procreation to continue, whether in the plant world, the animal world, in human beings, you always need the male part and the female part. I’m going to leave it at that.

This is a presentation that needs at least 45 minutes, at best an hour. But I was told that I have 10 minutes.

The holy Blessing, or the interfaith blessing festival may appear at the wedding, but it is much more. The holy interfaith blessing festival of the True Parents is a ceremony of family restoration to save our nation. It’s a way and a means to fulfill the peace kingdom of heaven on earth as God’s ideal.

The benefits of the Blessing: strengthen fidelity and trust between husband and wife, and bring eternal joy and happiness and blessing to future generations. My brother was talking about the problem of youth. We believe that when you go through this, when children are raised in loving, embracing families, statistics show that there is a greater chance that children will succeed.

But children who come from broken families—in fact there is a statistic that says if 30 percent of the families in a nation are broken, that nation is bound to go down. This is how serious it is. If there is anything we should leave with from here—as much as we may not understand many things—it is to realize that the philosophy of peace of Father and Mother Moon is the strengthening of families.

When we talk about families, we don’t have to debate it. A family means a married situation of a man and a woman.

Also, the benefit of the blessing is to bring God’s love and grace to your family and your descendants. Stability of the society is one of the benefits. It reduces sexually transmitted diseases, it brings true partnership, and also nations prosper. Many nations in which families are stable, those nations really prosper. And also to the point I just made, if 30 percent of the families are broken, that nation quite often goes down.

We will be doing this on Saturday with religious leaders, with traditional leaders and with parliamentarians. And this is what are the blessing affirms. Affirming the eternal true love of husband and wife, we rededicate our marriage to God. This is what they will be pronouncing. We will be faithful in marriage forever. It means, even when one partner dies, the other partner doesn’t look around because that one who died is still your eternal partner. So we don’t talk about until death do us part.

We will teach our children sexual purity, which President Seka was talking about, the challenge of youth. We will support all people to uplift their sexual purity and marital fidelity beyond race, nation and religion.

Thank you very much.



To go to the 2018 Africa Summit Schedule page, click here.