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 perspective, and some more.
Here we talk about the humanist community, safety concerns, private communication, public communications platforms, and more.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s do a short take on upcoming resources for the humanist community of Zimbabwe, which will experience the normal growing pains, but can become established over time. Especially with the resources developed in other countries in the African region, they paved a path and real successes and honest failures for them can help provide a pathway for others in Africa. What are some of the first resources in development for humanists in Zimbabwe?
Takudzwa Mazwienduna: The Humanist Society of Zimbabwe is still to mobilize members in order to meet up and prioritize initiatives. Our immediate concern however is representation in the public, from media to political platforms. Mass media communication support and awareness campaigns is what we will be looking at.
Jacobsen: Why those resources?
Mazwienduna: There is a great chance of getting through to the Zimbabwean society through speaking to community leaders and voicing secular concerns on public platforms. We have done something similar in the past but we were showing up on shows Christian organizations had paid for, it was easy for them to kick us out after a while.
Jacobsen: How can other groups in the country and the region become connected via the internet?
Mazwienduna: We have Facebook pages and groups by the names Humanist Society of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean Atheists. We also have a huge Whatsapp group called Talk To A Humanist where discussions surrounding secular and progressive issues are always taking place between Atheists and Christians.
Jacobsen: Whatsapp and Signal provide some safety and refuge for the conversations and communications of the freethought community throughout Africa. The main concern is safety, as this remains an issue. Any other forms of communication and dialogue in a safe platform for freethinkers and humanists in Zimbabwe?
Mazwienduna: Whatsapp and Telegram are the safest platforms we have been using to communicate. Most people are more active on Whatsapp rather than Telegram however. Cell phone service providers offer cost-effective Whatsapp exclusive internet bundles, and this earns the platform loyalty from most Zimbabwean Humanists.
Jacobsen: Also, for those who are bold and do not care about safety issues, what seem like the most straightforward ways for them to get their word out?
Mazwienduna: Some members have been using Twitter, Facebook and showing up as panellists on national radio religious shows. Our most outreach was when we were panellists for 6 weeks on a Star FM show called “Faith On Trial.” It was the first time we made that much impact and got recognition from government authorities who were very sympathetic to our cause, so much so that they added a member to the National Censorship Board. The Board was dissolved after the former president Robert Mugabe was removed from power however because his daughter Bona was also on it. We are uncertain about where we stand with the new government today, but they have preserved the progress we pushed for in the secularization of education.
Jacobsen: Any websites for Zimbabweans humanists upcoming or extant?
Mazwienduna: There is a website started by members: www.zimbabweanatheists.com. Members write articles on secularism from time to time and it’s Zimbabwe’s first secular publication.
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-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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 Alliance, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.
Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du Québec, Atheist Freethinkers, Central Ontario Humanist Association, Comox Valley Humanists, Grey Bruce Humanists, Halton-Peel Humanist Community, Hamilton Humanists, Humanist Association of London, Humanist Association of Ottawa, Humanist Association of Toronto, Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba, Ontario Humanist Society, Secular Connextions Seculaire, Secular Humanists in Calgary, Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph), Thunder Bay Humanists, Toronto Oasis, Victoria Secular Humanist Association.
Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker, American Atheists,American Humanist Association, Associação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Alliance of America, Atheist Centre, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Brights Movement, Center for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist Ireland, Camp Quest, Inc., Council for Secular Humanism, De Vrije Gedachte, European Humanist Federation, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Foundation Beyond Belief, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist International, Humanist Association of Germany, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist Society of Scotland, Humanists UK, Humanisterna/Humanists Sweden, Internet Infidels, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists, James Randi Educational Foundation, League of Militant Atheists, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, National Secular Society, Rationalist International, Recovering From Religion, Religion News Service, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, The Clergy Project, The Rational Response Squad, The Satanic Temple, The Sunday Assembly, United Coalition of Reason, Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.