Masereka Solomon is the Director, Abrimac Secular Services Ltd., formerly Kasese Freethinkers Club.
Here we talk about his life, work, and views.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was early life like for you, e.g., geography, culture, language, religion or lack thereof, education, and family structure and dynamics?
Masereka Solomon: I have grown up from Kasese, Uganda; thus, the Rwenzori mountainous region in a family of about 32 siblings and different loving mothers with different religious beliefs. I speak over 4 languages; Lhukonzo/Kinandi is my first language. I was never exposed to a single religion. My father passed on when I was still very young, but I was observing whatever he used to do for the short time I saw him live. He was a businessman, a loving man, who wished to have a better informed community, not only for his children, but he cared for anyone that was in need including the churches. He used to fund church construction in our villages. Those churches still exist. He funded school constructions like Karambi Secondary School and that school still exists. He encouraged his children to be in school. He supported many to complete school. He died when he had switched from the Christian religion because he also had unanswered questions. He was an informed individual who considered uplifting the wellbeing of people not just their happiness and this impacted my mind from childhood. I grew asking myself why one would switch religion and believe in other things. I had questions that had no correct answer from the right people. However, I have always seen education, love and care in my family.
Jacobsen: What levels of formal education have been part of life for you? How have you informally self-educated?
Solomon: In 2013, I got a university degree in Information Technology from Makerere University Kampala. In High school, I attended a very religious school called Seroma Christian High School, where I studied Geography, Economics, Languages, and Fine Arts. I got more exposed to religion, but I was never a victim of indoctrination because I had a critical background of looking at things.
After university, I felt I preferred being my own boss. I valued my ability to use technology to live my life. While in Kasese, early 2014, I gave most of my time to charity works; thus, I started volunteering to help students in schools to get the best while at school since most schools in Kasese currently lack what students need and defining a school environment is still a problem to many school administrators.
I started helping students of Kasese Humanist School with computer lessons. I have taught in this school several lessons not limited to politics, social and economic conditions. I have got more exposed to the education system of Uganda. I have offered to help in explaining humanism to my students and other teachers. I find humanism a better definition for life and always have continued to encourage my community to consider humanism as a lifestyle. It’s the best way we can have peace in our communities.
I have been to school to learn, but I have also continued to learn through working with the young generation, rich is not how much you have, but the conditions of those around you define how rich you are.
Jacobsen: Why, and how, was the Kasese Freethinkers Club founded?
Solomon: I and some informed friends realized students were getting less than they deserve. They were missing things we thought able to solicit for them through our skills. We organized and the club was formed to find better solutions and pass on skills of critical thinking – We looked at encouraging sports, gardening and dance for the students, we helped the students get sports equipment’s, organized friendly matches – we formed a sports academy to help improve some talents and provided a parenting atmosphere thus making sure the students love school and avoid school dropout – I personally believe the young generations picks from what the elders do, as a humanist I believe we make communities and our existence will cause the existence of others only if we accept to use wisdom than getting trapped into the ignorance of failed legacy and identity.
The club did well in mobilizing for the local school I help, we organized sports activities and debate topics to help the children understand what humanism is than running away from it and also help in passing on critical thinking skills – this club was generally to enlighten the children that we associated with through giving them what they lacked and talking to them about training their minds to find solutions to problems as human beings. Humanists are meant to be good people, people who believe that they’re the source of the solutions to problems, they’re people who wish for a better world than they found – imagine a Christian and a Muslim with their argument, humanists got a bad name in communities and our arguments seem to be landing on old hard rocks. Kasese Freethinkers Club was a club founded by people who want to honestly define humanism for people to buy such a good argument that respects human intelligence, we consider giving realistic efforts as opposed to just talking – for humanism to progress, there’s need to uplift the well being of these people and as a club now a Company we want to see well off people not just happy people who can’t even afford common life basics.
Jacobsen: Why was the club changed into operation as a company called Abrimac Secular Services Ltd.?
Solomon: Changing the Club to a company status came as a result of more need and the weight of services we plan to give to a much wider area. There are many students and people in the community who are not well in life. There’s limited access to information. The education system is not the best. We have a suffering community. We found it wise to operate as a company to help communities change their mindsets through our different projects, which are not influenced by religious beliefs but aimed at created well off communities. Religion thrives most in religious communities and these are the same communities we operate in so we can’t preach, we teach better. We give secular services, services that are very basic to everyone whether rich or poor, we don’t promise prayers, we give what is missing in peoples lives, we give charity and teach – we improve the well being of humanity and only limited by resources to serve the community members.
Jacobsen: What are some important parts of secular activism there?
Solomon: Many people in my community think we’re originally founded on a religious foundation, it’s very wrong because they are not sufficiently mature. The level of ignorance in my community is very high even when we have schools and teachers, with secular activism it’s possible to impact lives because the mind is activated when things are questioned and when one starts doing activities without the influence of religion. I have always shown my students the real meaning of a school, a school is not a religious center even though it’s founded by religious people, when religious people are accepted to establish schools, and they diluted what could have been something good into a poison to the human brain. Secularism is not promotion of immoral acts, secularism is using the human brain to find solutions and making this world a better place – humanism is what secular activism requires.
It’s very important to care for the young generations thus seeing them through school, secular activism is not fighting with the religious follows – secularism and humanism is about doing what is right because it’s right from a mature mind.
Jacobsen: What are some important political and social activities of the organization?
Solomon: Our political and social activities are not limited to;
· Promoting respect for human rights through helping victims of human abuse.
· Promoting respect for human intelligence thus encouraging the public to act with wisdom and avoid making rulings out of ignorance.
· Promoting education not indoctrination, involves getting scholarships and scholastic materials for vulnerable students in our communities. The Company plans to connect students in the Kasese region with city students thus increasing their chances of success and access to information, it’s possible.
· Promoting sporting activities in our communities through organizing youth to form teams and get chances of interaction with other communities. Sports involves many activities, sports equipment’s are necessary to have a successful activity.
· Promoting health through helping the vulnerable girls get menstrual pads and accurate reproductive knowledge. Health activities involves prevention measures like getting mosquito nets to vulnerable communities, health is important because people need to be health in order to be productive.
· Providing better accommodation to students from distant places, Company is in the process of establishing hostel and transport services that are clean and secure for Human life – the Company needs resources to have this project moving.
· Promoting environmental conservation through encouraging the planting of trees, we need trees on our mountain slopes of Rwenzori.
· Establishing entrepreneur projects to help in creating employment opportunities for people, as a Company have several ideas to have many people get employed and earn health incomes while serving their communities positively.
Jacobsen: Who are some interesting public intellectuals speaking for the freethought and secular community?
Solomon: I have listened to and read notes of different intelligent minds like David Mills writer of Atheist Universe, Christopher Hitchens, and James Randi. Freethought and secular community is not for stupid people. It’s for people who have not grown imperfectly into adulthood.
Jacobsen: What will be the developments for Abrimac Secular Services Ltd. for the rest of 2019 and into 2020?
Solomon: The Company has several developments it’s working on, we’re establishing physical structures in areas of operation in order to best help our communities. We continue to do more activism in our communities aimed at improving people’s minds positively. We are activists of humanism which defines life better – we have what we call Luck Hacking; it’s a viewpoint being written by one of our friends in East Asia. This is the same view that defines humanism too. We save glasses from falling. We remove glasses from dangerous positions, take people for a glass placed at the edge of a table, if you can’t switch its position well, it’s likely to fall and break. It will break and anyone may step on those broken parts and get hurt, Abrimac Secular Services Limited aims at saving many people through switching positions of several vulnerable people to better positions through sharing and giving what these communities lack.
Jacobsen: How can people become involved through the donation of time, the addition of membership, links to professional and personal networks, giving monetarily, exposure in interviews or writing articles, and so on?
Solomon: People can get involved through joining us in kind, our company is limited by guarantee so we continue to welcome guarantors who understand the need for waking up humanity – associate yourself with us and you’re part of our company activities. Our company operates on monetary resource’s and human labor, the company accepts all resources to reach out to many people, the company works with teachers in different schools, medical practitioners, political leaders, security operatives provided they understand their duties in their respective professionals. We need these people to help us in passing correct information to the public, we avoid pseudo beliefs – leave a message here https://www.facebook.com/BetterHumanServices/ for all acts of kindness towards our works or we can receive items through our postal address Abrimac Secular Services Limited, P.O. Box 196, Kasese, Uganda. We have many students in need. We have communities with limited access to information and medicals resources, we have many vulnerable children, women and men that have been ignored and neglecte. We exist in order to reach all these people.
Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts based on the conversation today?
Solomon: “Your mind is the basis of everything you experience and every contribution you make to the lives others. Train your mind.” These are lines from Sam Harris in Awake. We have people with an ignorant mind and those with an informed mind; however, we need people to perfectly grow into adulthood.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Masereka.
Solomon: Thanks also for your efforts of reaching out to people through your skills of writing.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
Do not forget to look into our 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 Alliance, and Centre for Inquiry Canada.
Other Resources: Recovering From Religion.
Image Credit: Masereka Solomon.