Ask Takudzwa 22 – I am Africa: My Africa, My Zimbabwe, My Future

by | January 23, 2020

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 African cultural embedment.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is Africa to you?

Takudzwa Mazwienduna: Africa to me is home. I grew up in the culture and amongst the people, and the society shaped me. There is always a strong sense of familiarity whenever I’m in any African country.

Jacobsen: What is Zimbabwe as a culture embedded in the wider African culture(s) to you?

Mazwienduna: Zimbabwe like most African countries, is a young nation with a dark past of colonialism, still battling its demons from that era. The borders of the country were drawn by Otto Von Bismarck at the Berlin Conference in 1888, with no single African in attendance, so it’s not a nation that defines a people. A lot of Karanga, Ndau, Tonga and Manyika people can also be found in Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia; other countries that should have been one with ours. They all used to be part of the Mutapa empire: a 14th century post Great Zimbabwe empire that defeated Portuguese invasions several times before British colonization 400 years later. I like most nationalists identify with that older establishment, we are the same people with the same history split in 5 countries by the Berlin Conference. The concept of nationalism is that complicated in most African countries which explains the Civil Wars and endless coups in countries where borders were drawn with various opposing tribes like Nigeria or Rwanda.

Jacobsen: What in Africa embodies a humanist state of mind, in terms of the ethics and practices found throughout Africa?

Mazwienduna: There is a common cultural doctrine in every Bantu society from West Africa right down to Southern Africa called Ubuntu (Unhu in my language). It basically translates to humanism or humane manners. It is the ethics that guide human interactions in Bantu culture and most African kingdoms were sort of Utopias because of that until colonization disrupted the cultural progress, replacing it with dogma. Humanism for Africa is a matter of claiming that cultural heritage back and discarding redundant notions that have come with colonial culture.

Jacobsen: How do these grounds make for fertile soil for humanist values to take root in Zimbabwe more in this – what we hope is a – post-colonial context?

Mazwienduna: Most Zimbabweans just like most Africans can relate to Ubuntu, it’s the principles our grandparents used to teach us before our parents took us to church. They simply have to reconnect with that narrative.

Jacobsen: How is the future of Zimbabwe linked up to the future of science, technology, human rights, and, indeed, an African humanist future orientation in political and social life?

Mazwienduna: There is a lot to be done to promote a culture of enlightenment in Zimbabwe. With the rise of the internet, the society is radically transforming and catching up to science and progress. If the conversation goes mainstream, we will be having a different discussion in a decade.

Jacobsen: How can the Humanist Society of Zimbabwe be a frontrunner in this wave?

Mazwienduna: The Humanist Society of Zimbabwe has to get the conversation going, and increase civic awareness amongst the people. They have to create a platform for religious dialogue.

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 Adrianna Van Groningen on Unsplash

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