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Ask Takudzwa 21 – The Nature of Activism with Fewer Resources


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/01/18

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.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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