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


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Canadian Atheist

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/01/23

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.


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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