/ 24 November 1995

Buthelezi lashes out at Mandela

CHIEF Mangosuthu Buthelezi has voiced some of his strongest criticism to date of President Nelson Mandela, saying relations between the two leaders "could not be worse".

CHIEF Mangosuthu Buthelezi has voiced some of his strongest criticism to date of President Nelson Mandela, saying relations between the two leaders “could not be worse”.

In an interview with The Irish Times, the Inkatha Freedom Party leader said his relations with the president were “polite” but that surface appearances belied the true nature of their

Buthelezi said Mandela made a point of addressing him in a friendly fashion in public but on his visit to Tanzania last June had publicly accused the IFP leader of being responsible for violence in KwaZulu- Natal.

“It is the most terrible thing to say about one of his Cabinet because he had never confronted me and told me in what way I am responsible for the violence,” he said.

Buthelezi added it was unjust that some people were facing investigation while senior ANC figures like Joe Modise, Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki had been granted amnesty for “crimes” they had committed. He added that few IFP members had applied for amnesty because it had never been the party’s policy to kill

Despite his “frustration” at the workings of the Cabinet, Buthelezi refused to contemplate an imminent withdrawal from the Government of National Unity. The decision to enter the GNU had been taken by the IFP national council against his own desire, he said, and it was up to the party to decide whether or not he and other Inkatha ministers should withdraw.

Sun shines on South African Moonies

Local Moonies are in the spotlight after the visit of their messiah to South Africa this week, reports Stefaans BrYmmer

PICTURE the septuagenarian Reverend Sun Myung Moon leaping from snapshot to snapshot plastered on a large wall, pointing wildly, pairing tens of thousands of faces. Attendants, clipboards in hand, rush behind, noting who is to wed whom.

The world’s largest dating agency, cynics scoff. A spiritual father’s inspired advice that led him to a loving marriage, argues South African Lazarus Muthimba, one of the 60 000 men and women Moon “blessed in matrimony” at a ceremony in Korea three years ago.

Mass nuptial ceremonies have become the hallmark of Moon’s Unification Church. It started in 1961 with 36 couples and multiplied until August this year, when Moon presided over the wedding of 360 000 couples at a single ceremony, conducted via satellite among the citizens of more than 160 countries.

Muthimba, a 32-year-old Unisa student, is vice-president of the Unification Church of South Africa. Three years ago, after 11 years as a Unificationist (a term they prefer to “Moonie”), he felt ready to commit himself to marriage, and so deepen his bond with God.

Muthimba travelled to South Korea, paid US$300 (about R1 050, but now the fee for South Africans is double that), and was chosen a partner by Moon. They met before the wedding; she Japanese, he a South African from the townships, but they took to each other instantly. “Wow, it couldn’t be more perfect!”

Muthimba says there is nothing forced about the arranged marriages: Couples do have a chance to back out. Still, Moon’s fatherly advice is mostly heeded, and successfully so: The divorce rate, Muthimba claims, is less than one percent. “The Reverend Moon is very high spiritually. He can predict how your family will be.”

Indeed, if Unificationist doctrine is to be believed, he is the Christ-come-again, here to complete the work of the earlier

The story starts on a Korean mountainside, Easter 1935. Moon, a 15-year-old Sunday school teacher, is visited by Jesus, who asks him to continue where crucifixion put an end to his own endeavours. Ten years later Moon begins his public ministry. Today the Unification Church claims a world membership of five million plus.

As the mass-weddings suggest, “true family” is the central tenet of Moon’s doctrine. He revealed to his followers at Johannesburg’s plush Carlton Hotel on Wednesday: “Humanity is made up of two kinds of people: men and women. Even the most complex problems of the world involve relationships between men and women. And the fulfilment of the true family by two true individuals provides the model for resolving the problems of the

That doctrine has found resonance with the American Right and conservatives worldwide. Moon made no bones about his own political leanings: “In the last days, Satan … will lose to God’s side. To stop that from happening, Satan introduced atheism to sow the seeds for humanism, materialism and communism. This led the ‘heavenly right wing’ and the ‘satanic left wing’ to enter into a global conflict.”

Moon went further: “I was instrumental in bringing about the collapse of communism … You should also know it was through my considerable influence from behind the scenes that the Republican Party in the United States could gain the upper hand over the Democratic Party after 40 years.”

Moon has not always been popular with the powers that be. Communist North Korea twice imprisoned the young preacher in the 1940s for disturbing the social order; America jailed him for 18 months in 1984 for evading tax, and Britain this month tried to deny him an entry visa.

But where the earlier Christ remained in conflict with the authorities until they took his life, Moon has in recent years made significant strides in befriending world leaders.

In 1990 Moon was pictured embracing Mikhail Gorbachev. There have been associations with American right-wing politico-religious leader Jerry Falwell, former American secretary of state Alexander Haig and Britain’s Edward Heath. George Bush accompanied Moon to a recent speaking engagement in Tokyo. Moon has met 17 South American presidents. While South African luminaries were conspicuously absent at the Carlton Hotel on Wednesday, Malawi’s second vice-president, Chakufwa Chihana, was there to introduce him.

Where the earlier Christ, tempted in the desert, refused the kingdoms of the world, Moon has embraced them wholeheartedly. He heads a vast network of commercial establishments, foundations and institutions. Under his control are publications including the rightwing Washington Times, and Noticias Del Mundo; production houses and television stations; cultural concerns including the New York City Symphony, and a ballet company; and companies as diverse as China’s Panda Motors, computer and machinery manufacturers and producers of pharmaceuticals and Ginseng tea.

Where the wealth comes from is a sore point. Moon’s worth is in the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of rands, yet his followers have been known to spend their days hawking kitsch to pay for his religious instruction. The companies, and especially the church’s offshoot institutions – a plethora of bodies like the Professors’ World Peace Academy, the Council for World Peace, the Youth Federation for World Peace and the Ocean Church – are another source of complaint against Moon: people get drawn into bodies that they only later learn to be “Moonie”.

Cape Town businessman Mark Wiley, son of the late Environment Minister John Wiley, grabbed the headlines in the late 1970s when he “escaped” from a Unificationist camp in America. Wiley says he left of his own free will, but that he had felt “captive in an emotional sense”.

Wiley was attracted to the group when he travelled in America as a confused young man just graduated from the army and war in Angola. Their “positive appeal to people who want to do something for the betterment of their communities” attracted him, but he was bothered by its “completely corrupted end-use, which is the glofification of the church and of Reverend Moon … and that it turns people into cheap labour for the organisation”. Also – and this is probably the most common complaint against the Unificationists – Moon “turns children against their parents”.

Muthimba sees it differently. He, too, was attracted as a young man affected by war. In his case it was the township wars of the early eighties, and he was a committed Marxist who thought socialism was the only solution.

He got to know some Unificationists, and thought he could convince them of his ideas. Instead, they convinced him. Nineteen years old, he told his family he was leaving to join the church full time. Only six years later did they come to accept his

It does not bother Muthimba that Moon is fabulously rich: he believes his spiritual father holds the wealth in trust for the benefit and use of all his followers.

Muthimba thinks his church made mistakes in the early years; their hot-headedness was partly to blame for their bad image. “We were all young in that time … Some went to their parents and said: ‘I’m quitting, I am leaving university.’ That was not

Moon said on Wednesday: “Now, unlike in the past, people realise that I am a man of goodness.”

Just how good Moon is, and whether indeed the Christ has come again, remains a matter of doubt. But a theory that may find more takers is that the Moonies have come of age.