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N. Frey: Address to Africa Summit

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


Honorable members of parliament, my dear colleagues, and traditional chiefs, I have this honor today to share a few words with you. I am N’Kumu Frey. I spent 18 years in South Korea studying in academic schools, from language school to Ph.D. at Sun Moon University. In addition to my study of the language, I learned about South Korea’s history, culture, and how the economy of the nation went from $70 of GDP (per capita) to more than $6,000 today, maybe $100,000. My goal has been to finish my studies, graduate, and then go to South Africa as a university professor.

Korea’s history is very interesting. Park Chung Hee served as the President from 1963 until his assassination in 1979. At that time, the nation was still dealing with the devastation of the war. To help with the restoration, Rev. Sun Myung Moon started the New Village Movement or Saemaul Ungong (SMU), a community-based initiative for rural development.

I undertook a study of the basis of the philosophy until I ended up becoming one of the best experts. I became an expert not by just reading a book but by doing. Doing what? By taking the Saemaul approach and applying it to the situation in different nations.

What is the cause of the suffering of Africa? It comes from the land. If you have no land, how can you develop? If you have no land, how can you produce? Land is the basis of wealth.

Though the land is available, there must be a will to act. Saemaul is a philosophy to be put into action. For development to come, there must be a revolution of the mind and a change of mentality. In those early days, the Korean people thought of themselves as beggars, depending on outside help. The World Bank did an investigation of the country. Their conclusion? “Korea is just a big black hole. If you give them money, there won’t be any return on the investment.” But thanks to the New Village Movement or Saemaul, the Korean people woke up. “Unless we do it ourselves, no one will do it,” they said. The national slogan became, “We can do it.”

The “We can do it” movement is based on three principles: diligence, self-help and cooperation. The South Korean government encouraged me to study these principles and to travel around the world, including South Africa, so I could see first hand how a self-help approach could close the gap between rural and urban life development.

I want my country to accept this approach. Sustainable growth in DR Congo cannot be achieved without rural development. We have to improve the living standard in rural areas and stop migration to cities. Land reform, institutional support and political commitment are needed.

I am honored to be a member of parliament in my country. I want to help the people. The key point is the mind. Formal education and informal education are critical. Informal education means to raise the level of consciousness, which is to realize that unless I do it, no one will do it for me. I am the key to resolving the problem.

Next is formal education, when you go from kindergarten to a Ph.D. graduate, like me. The goal is to fulfill the three E’s: Education (both formal and informal), Economy and Environment.

We must safeguard our land. Do not sell your land. If you sell the land, you sell your future. My grandfather always advised us never to sell the land. If you sell the land, you put your generation in slavery. They will not have anywhere to plant and anywhere to survive in the future.

The environment is the third E. Beloved brothers and sisters, honored chiefs, where do you get petrol? The land. Where do you get money? The land. Land is the key. Protect your land. You can rent it, but don’t sell. If you sell it, you destroy your future. For future generations there will be no place to survive.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts.



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