Ask Takudzwa 21 – The Nature of Activism with Fewer Resources

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is the informal leader of Zimbabwean Secular Alliance and a member of the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. This educational series will explore secularism in Zimbabwe from an organizational perspectiveand some more.

Here we talk about making headway with humanist organizations.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Things in Zimbabwe are complicated. Including its history, From 1898 to 1964, “Zimbabwe” was called “Southern Rhodesia,” or until 1980 based on British law, “Rhodesia from 1964 to 1979, and, for – literally – a few months, “Zimbabwe Rhodesia” between June, 1979 and December, 1979. This represents the complicated work of extrication from colonial institutional and legal rule. Its economy is largely mining and agriculture. Its GDP at PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), circa 2017, is $34.27 billion or 127th in the world. This is, internationally speaking, a relatively poor context. In turn, fundamentalist religion can be more likely to flourish and secular activism can be more difficult to enact. What would be a restriction on an individual working to found a group, financially, in Zimbabwe?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: Founding a group in Zimbabwe indeed has a lot of financial obstacles. It’s costly to mobilize people who are scattered across the country, let alone getting all the clearance needed for that in the corrupt military/ police state that Zimbabwe currently is.

Jacobsen: Why would making a new humanist group make less sense than simply joining the one for yourselves in this financial context – as citizens may struggle without independent wealth?

Mazwienduna: That is because the resources and red tape needed to pull that off is astronomical. It is also important to have connections with the establishment which already existing organizations have.

Jacobsen: What is the status of informal groups in Zimbabwe now? Because these were the touching points before the humanist society launched as the inaugural, only, and groundbreaking humanist organization recognized by the government of Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe.

Mazwienduna: Informal groups in Zimbabwe today are usually just individual initiatives by members of the already established Humanist Society of Zimbabwe. Some members may have found issues that they feel need attention that are not covered by the established organization such as the secularism and cultural reform awareness campaign; Zimbabwean Atheists. They are individual efforts that could break into the mainstream movement one day of they are successful or gain traction.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Takudzwa.

Mazwienduna: It’s always a pleasure, Scott.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-booksfree or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular AllianceCentre for Inquiry CanadaKelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.

Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du QuébecAtheist FreethinkersCentral Ontario Humanist AssociationComox Valley HumanistsGrey Bruce HumanistsHalton-Peel Humanist CommunityHamilton HumanistsHumanist Association of LondonHumanist Association of OttawaHumanist Association of TorontoHumanists, Atheists and Agnostics of ManitobaOntario Humanist SocietySecular Connextions SeculaireSecular Humanists in CalgarySociety of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)Thunder Bay HumanistsToronto OasisVictoria Secular Humanist Association.

Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an AgnostikerAmerican Atheists,American Humanist AssociationAssociação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and AgnosticsAtheist Alliance InternationalAtheist Alliance of AmericaAtheist CentreAtheist Foundation of AustraliaThe Brights MovementCenter for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist IrelandCamp Quest, Inc.Council for Secular HumanismDe Vrije GedachteEuropean Humanist FederationFederation of Indian Rationalist AssociationsFoundation Beyond BeliefFreedom From Religion FoundationHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist InternationalHumanist Association of GermanyHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist Society of ScotlandHumanists UKHumanisterna/Humanists SwedenInternet InfidelsInternational League of Non-Religious and AtheistsJames Randi Educational FoundationLeague of Militant AtheistsMilitary Association of Atheists and FreethinkersNational Secular SocietyRationalist InternationalRecovering From ReligionReligion News ServiceSecular Coalition for AmericaSecular Student AllianceThe Clergy ProjectThe Rational Response SquadThe Satanic TempleThe Sunday AssemblyUnited Coalition of ReasonUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

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