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 governance in the history of Zimbabwe.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we examine the history of Zimbabwe, and its modern leadership, who have been bright lights of science, cosmopolitanism, and the like?
Takudzwa Mazwienduna: The former minister of Primary and Secondary education Dr. Lazarus Dokora has been the most progressive force and he has faced backlash from the ultra-religious Zimbabwean population because of it. He banned religious prayers and proselytizing from public schools. He also introduced a program that enhanced science education in schools.
Jacobsen: Has anyone identified as a humanist, freethinker, atheist, or something akin to simply rejecting the religious beliefs of the general public without accepting them?
Mazwienduna: There hasn’t been a public figure that has come out as a Humanist or Freethinker in the history of Zimbabwe. It is political suicide considering that Zimbabwe is ultra-religious.
Jacobsen: How is the inherited political legacy of past generations holding some aspects of Zimbabwe back from progress? How is this bringing Zimbabwe forward in its efforts to modernize?
Mazwienduna: Patronage is the biggest problem in that regard. Liberation war credentials are the ultimate golden ticket for Zimbabweans to benefit from the corrupt, totalitarian system. The system of patronage impacts everything to do with progress.
Jacobsen: How can the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe utilize these heritages of national governance to bolster the efforts for humanistic progress in Zimbabwe?
Mazwienduna: The Humanist Society of Zimbabwe finds itself in a tricky position in this situation. Its mission is not a priority for the totalitarian government hence unlikely to receive any genuine support. Some government ministries have been welcoming however, since they had the same goals and initiatives, such as the ministry of education under Dr. Lazarus Dokora. The government is obliged to respect secularism as the constitution dictates, but they do otherwise very often and opposing them almost always ends in death. As long as the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe stand for secularism without crossing the government or countering its interests, they are safe.
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.