The Words of the Maseko Family
Johannesburg, South Africa -- UPF-South Africa commemorated Africa Day, May 25, 2014, with the theme: "Commemorating Africa Day with Prayer and Devotion." More than 16 different religious organizations were invited to share in the commemoration of this day.
Incidentally Africa Day coincided with the inauguration of President Jacob G. Zuma for a second term in office. UPF sent a congratulatory message to his office for holding a successful and peaceful general election and wished President Zuma and his new cabinet success for his second term.
The UPF event opened with observing a minute of silence for the tragic kidnapping of African girls from a school in Nigeria.
The persons who represented their organizations on the program included: Sister Shirley (Brahma Kumaris), Ambassador Ogar (Brotherhood of the Cross and Star), Sister Hafsa Mahlangu (International Sufi School), Hendrick Bontsi (Baha'i Faith), Rev. J.A. Ghomsi (UPF- Southern African Region), Prof. J.S. Maseko (UPF-South Africa) and Rev. K. Mbengeni (Family Federation for World Peace–South Africa).
The speakers focused much of their presentations on the need for peace, love, unity and responsibility in Africa. There were beautiful renditions of Arabic and other hymns by the principal and students of the International Sufi School and a meditation session led by Sister Shirley of the Brahma Khumaris.
The highlight of the event was the concept of a "spiritual parliament" presented by Teddy Govindasami. He explained that its vision and purpose would be to embrace all religions and traditions who preach peace. He further explained that the concept for a "spiritual parliament" was born out of the belief that in the spiritual realm UPF Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon and spiritual masters such as Jesus Christ, Mohammed and Buddha are working together for peace on earth and that a "spiritual parliament" would help advance the peace-building efforts of religious people.
Prof. Maseko found this concept appealing because it presents an opportunity for reflection on the challenges and opportunities facing South Africa, Africa and the world. He said that the violence in local communities and African states is escalating, and is a threat to the UN's Millennium Development Goals and UPF's vision for a world of peace and harmony. He said that UPF in partnership with a spiritual parliament in South Africa would seek to promote dialogue and cooperation among various religions which are the causes of community conflict and violence.
He emphasized the importance of strengthening marriages, families and education, which are essential to counter the scourges of poverty and AIDS to and promote service and goodwill projects among nations that will help establish a culture of peace. He suggested the need to promote a dialogue of peace and ubuntu (people first) to government officials, schools and religious institutions. He concluded that UPF applauds the African Union for focusing on the "Right for Peace and Rights for Security, Rights of African History," to be researched by college students.
UPF envisioned a South Africa which strives to secure peace, prosperity and respect through the ethos of living for the sake of others -- an idea embraced by the Africa Union, which seeks peace and prosperity for all 900 million people in Africa.