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African Freethinker

Editor-in-Chief

(Updated September 28, 2016)

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Athabasca UniversityUniversity of California, Irvine

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded 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, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com, scott.jacobsen@probc.ca, Scott@Karmik.Ca, or SJacobsen@AlmasJiwaniFoundation.Org.

He is a Moral Courage Webmaster and Outreach Specialist (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), Interview Columnist for Conatus News, Writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, Interview Columnist for Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Chair of Social Media for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, Councillor for the Athabasca University Student Union, Member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice MagazineYour Political Party of BCProBCMarijuana Party of CanadaFresh Start Recovery CentreHarvest House Ministries, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Editor and Proofreader for Alfred Yi Zhang Photography, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, Member-at-Large, Member of the Outreach Committee, the Finance & Fundraising Committee, and the Special Projects & Political Advocacy Committee, and Writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab, Collaborator with Dr. Farhad Dastur in creation of the CriticalThinkingWiki, Board Member, and Foundation Volunteer Committee Member for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, and Independent Landscaper.

He was a Francisco Ayala Scholar at the UCI Ethics Center, Member of the Psychometric Society Graduate Student Committee, Special Advisor and Writer for ECOSOC at NWMUN, Writer for TransplantFirstAcademy and ProActive Path, Member of AT-CURA Psychology Lab, Contributor for a student policy review, Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, worked with Manahel Thabet on numerous initiatives, Student Member of the Ad–Hoc Executive Compensation Review Committee for the Athabasca University Student Union, Volunteer and Writer for British Columbia Psychological Association, Community Member of the KPU Choir (even performed with them alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Delegate at Harvard World MUN, NWMUN, UBC MUN, and Long Beach Intercollegiate MUN, and Writer and Member of the Communications Committee for The PIPE UP Network.

He works on books with Richard G. Rosner entitled Tweets to the Universe: Volume III, Cognitive Thrift: Volume ICognitive Thrift: Volume IIA Short Guide to the FutureAdvice to Gifted and Talented YouthThe Long Road to Science, and How to Think Like a Genius, another one with David Cobb entitled The Historic Chief Skugaid, another with Professor Sven van de Wetering and Richard G. Rosner called Evidence-Based Social Organization: A Plague of Evidence, another book with Professors Wayne Podrouzek and Sven van de Wetering entitled On Academic Freedom, another entitled Women of the Academy with the UCI Ethics Center, and three books entitled Female Academics: Volume II, Conversations on Cognitive Science (with interviewee recommendations from Dr. Daniel Bernstein), and The Giga Society Interviews (with interviewee recommendations from Paul Cooijmans) and On Belief and Work alone.

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

Ghanaian Editorial Staff

(Updated November 3, 2018)

*Interview/Article views do not equate to positions of Ghanaian Editorial Staff .*

*Ghanaian Editorial Staff listing alphabetized by first name and relevant hyperlinks active.*

Kwabena Antwi Boasiako

Michael Osei Assibey

President, Humanist Association of Ghana; Editor, African Freethinker (Ghana)

My name is Michael Osei Assibey but many of my friends know me by my given name, Kwabena Antwi Boasiako. I am a humanist, freethinker, and engineer.

I am passionate about dialogues that bring positive change. From anthropology to zoology, my interests take me wherever my understanding of the universe and the intricacies of human behaviour could be expanded. I am also particularly interested in the idea of human suffering and societal inequalities, their origins and how to mitigate or possibly eliminate them.

The best thing about being a professional building services engineer,  who runs his own consultancy firm is that it affords me the time to follow my other passions. Passions like heading the Humanist Association of Ghana for the past year and carrying out projects that speak to the inclusive and more equal society that I hope for the future.

These projects include book-drives to aid children from low-income families improve their reading skills, podcasts to discuss and present humanist perspectives on social issues as well as running monthly meetings and providing safe spaces for discussions devoid of dogma.

I am married to my loving partner, Roslyn Mould who is also a part of this editorial team.

South African Editorial Staff

(Updated November 3, 2018)

*Interview/Article views do not equate to positions of South African Editorial Staff.*

*South African Editorial Staff listing alphabetized by first name and relevant hyperlinks active.*

Gayleen Cornelius

Gayleen Cornelius

Editor, African Freethinker (South Africa) 

Gayleen Cornelius is a South African human rights activist from Willowmore; a tiny town in the Eastern Cape province. She grew up a coloured (the most ethnically diverse group in the world with Dutch, Khoisan, Griqua, Zulu, Xhosa Indian and East Asian ancestry).

Despite being a large Demographic from Cape Town to Durban along the coast, the group is usually left out of the racial politics that plague the nation. She has spoken out against identity politics, racism, workplace harassment, religious bigotry and different forms of abuse. She is also passionate about emotional health and identifies as an empath/ humanist.

Takudzwa Mazwienduna

Takudzwa Mazwienduna

Editor, African Freethinker (South Africa) 

Takudzwa Mazwienduna is a Zimbabwean writer on progressive issues. Raised to be a devout Catholic, losing his religion inspired a continuous quest for knowledge and passion for human rights.

He has worked with Zimbabwean civil society and assisted the government as a publicist on the secularisation of Zimbabwean education in 2016. He has also appeared as a secular panellist on Zimbabwean national radio shows like Faith on Trial debating dubious prophets and voicing secular concerns.

He is currently based in George, the administrative centre of the Garden Route in the Western Cape province of South Africa as a freelance journalist. He aims to push for Southern African Progressivism concerns into mainstream media.

Tanzanian Editorial Staff

(Updated November 3, 2018)

*Interview/Article views do not equate to positions of Tanzanian Editorial Staff.*

*Tanzanian Editorial Staff listing alphabetized by first name and relevant hyperlinks active.*

David Brighton Msomba, M.D.

David Brighton Msomba, M.D.

Managing Editor, African Freethinker (Tanzania)

My name is David Brighton Msomba, 33 yrs. old, born and raised in Tanzania.

I am a medical graduate, currently practicing as a General practitioner.

I am an atheist since my early 20s and became a secular humanist, 4 years ago.

This is my brief history on my journey to atheism.

I was raised as a Christian, my parents were deeply religious and still are, but also, they were open-minded and mostly secular, so being religious did not affect things like education, gender equality and other secular values, which were also promoted in the household.

I must emphasize this because growing up, this was more of an exception than a rule, many other households’ large emphasis was directed on religion education/religious values than secular values.

Growing up, I attended Sunday school, I loved the services and religious sermons, I got confirmed at 12 years old, read my Bible, I had my few doubts and skepticism but like many people I was fed the same Kool-Aid “God works in the mysteries ways” “To understand the Bible, you need special guidance from a holy spirit” and other excuses to evade the big questions.

If I can pinpoint things that facilitate my journey to Atheism were curiosity/love for knowledge, my disagreement on church/religion position on many moral issues.

As far as I can remember, reading has always been a passion of mine, sadly when I was a kid, I did not have access to books(non-fiction) at all, so much of my reading was mainly concentrated on newspapers, especially parts that covered world history, science and social issues. So, through my love of reading, I became aware of a lot of world conflicts, many of the natural disasters/misfortunes happening around the world. It made me ask questions like why there are so many misfortunes happen to live beings with the presence of a loving, all-powerful God?

As I said above, I was a natural inquisitor, curious, doubter and skeptic like any other normal kid but like most kids growing in Tanzania at that era, skepticism wasn’t really encouraged, in fact, most of us, was told there is “Elimu Dunia” World knowledge and “Elimu ya Mungu” Metaphysical Knowledge, We were taught to always differentiate the two and understand Metaphysical Knowledge should always be held in higher regard, since it is supreme to World Knowledge.

So despite having my questions, I didn’t really take my skepticism serious till I went to secondary school and I came across Evolutionary Biology (Big Cliché, right!!), it was the first time I found something that poked direct holes to religious claims of creation, with evidence, facts and it answered many of my questions examples through mutation and genetics we can understand hereditable diseases, which are not a curse by the Devil or God and also we have a better way of understanding, where Humans came from, rather than relying on the Adam and Eve story of creation, which didn’t make any sense to me even when I was religious.

Through school, I also came to realize, Science is a better method or tool to understand the world, so I invested many hours reading, learning and understanding science, the more I read, the more I understood about the world, life and human beings but also I found many conflicting stands that religious organizations took against science and moral issues, example the church was against cloning, family planning and abortion, sexuality, gender equality, medical ethical issues and so forth. One side it was science based on asking questions, conducting experiments and come on conclusions that were based on pure rational scientific reasoning while the church decisions were mostly irrational, emotional, concentrating on being right than compassionate and the deep need to preserve its traditional values rather than the wellbeing of its followers.

So, when I reached 20 yrs. old, I stopped going to church, I started to invest more time being “spiritual” (being nicer to people, doing more fasting, connecting more with God than the church)I also did my research on Rastafarianism and bit of Buddhism. Although I found some elements that I liked on Rastafarianism I concluded it was just another version of Christianity, a way of black person to find a lineage to Abrahamic religions.

So, I stopped my research and continue not going to the church and called myself spiritual. Although my fasting and praying routines also, became even fewer in number, I became more of an “Airport Atheist”, you know that guy who is an atheist, only prays and remember God, when he is on the plane and experienced some flight turbulence.

At this moment, I was already a medical student, I was exposed to more medical ethical dilemmas, which I found myself siding more with the medical/scientific community than the religious community. also, I came to understand many claims of devil curses that are manifesting to us as human illness are pure physiological perturbations that can be explained, understood and hence be cured, even claims of devil possessions are a simple mental illness that can be cured (hysteria).

So it was at this particular moment, where I started to lose my “spiritual belief “completely, mainly because I got many of my answers from another more reliable source, no need of faith or superstition and also I became first hand aware of hugely, unnecessarily suffering from human beings through illness from incurable cancer to a baby getting AIDS from the parents, born, suffering their whole living life and final dying before reaching age 3. At this point, explanations like God works in mysteries ways or God was teaching the parents a lesson, did not work for me anymore, especially for a loving, all-powerful god.

Up to this point I wasn’t even aware people who don’t believe in God(s) are known as atheists, this was until 2009 when I came across an article on the internet that was talking about Matt Groening (the creator of The Simpsons), they describe him as an atheist( they were wrong, since he is an agnostic), I had to search the term on the dictionary, and it was my eureka moment, instantly I came to a realization, I was an Atheist, all along.

The same year, I came across two books Guns, Germ and Steele by Jared Diamond and Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht. Among many other things I learn from Guns, Germs and Steele, it exposed me to the history of the religion which I wasn’t so familiar with it, up to that point, Hecht’s book was my introduction to western philosophy and history of doubt, it gave me confidence that I wasn’t alone in journey of skepticism and doubt, doubt has always been here since the first man invented a religion, it was a huge help to normalize my doubt and embrace my atheism.

After 2009, I became a full atheist, I invested more time in reading books especially non-fiction on science, philosophy, history, watching a lot of science, History and Philosophy T.V. shows, debates and discussions online and on 2014 I changed my position to a secular humanist/Agnostic Atheist, labels I hold proudly and dearly to date.

Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Assistant Editor, African Freethinker (Tanzania)

My Name is Isakwisa Lucas.

Holding: Diploma in Education (Dip-Educ)., Bachelor of Laws(L.L.B).,Post Graduate Diploma In Legal Practice(PGD-LP)., Master of Laws in Information and Communication Technology Laws (L.L.M- ICT LAWS) I do speak Kiswahili and English fluently.

Founder and member of Jicho Jipya think Anew, which is a registered Humanist-Freethinkers, agnostics, rationalists, atheists:-organization, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, East Africa. I am a human rights activist and secretary of Jicho Jipya Think Anew.

I have authored the following articles:- Freethinking as a human right and a constitutional right in Tanzania, a Legal Perspective. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and the foundations of secularism in Tanzania. A Reflection of freethinking rights in the constitution of Zanzibar of 1984. Okot P’ Bitek A Humanist-Freethinker of East Africa.

All of these articles can be viewed through the Medium (Humanist Voices) Forum administered by Scott Douglas Jacobsen in Canada or can be searched via Google. Also, I did participate in interviewing a veteran prominent freethinker in Tanzania the late Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, such interesting interview is also available in the medium or searched by Google.

I did participate in two IHEYO conferences of Berlin and Kampala respectively. I participated in organizing three locally humanists- freethinkers conferences in Dar es Salaam Tanzania in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Working Experience I am a teacher by profession with enough experience in teaching in secondary schools in Tanzania, my teaching subjects are the following:

1. Civics: This subject covers topics of Our nation of Tanzania, economic and social development, affairs of government of Tanzania, human rights and responsible citizenship, public legal education, international cooperation, democracy in Tanzania,public legal education, culture, environments, politics, current affairs, civic education to citizens, philosophy, comparative religious studies, patriotism, and altruism.

2. History: The subject covers African history in general and Africa in world history.

3. Language and literature: The subject covers the teaching of Africa literature in English language and grammar in the English language. I also worked as a Researcher (research assistant) for two years researching about information policies and laws regulating information in Tanzania from the independence era in the 1960s to 2015, for a Ph.D. thesis. Also, I am a Lawyer and a practicing Advocate of the high court in Tanzania.

 

Nsajigwa I Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa_sam)

Nsajigwa I Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam)

Associate Editor, African Freethinker (Tanzania)

I am Mr. Nsajigwa Nsa’sam Mwasokwa (54-years-old).

I am Pioneer Freethinker in Tanzania, trained within Tanzania and Japan in Farming, Cultural Tourism, and Youth Development from the grassroots. I am an experienced Tour-Guide, Teacher, Translator (English to Swahili, and vice versa), and Youth Talent Incubator and Mentor.

I discovered the label “Humanism” as a philosophy and alternative life-stance to religions through intensive book-reading, by way of self-studying while a youth in search for answers to the questions: “Who am I?“, “Where did it all come from?”, and “What forces have shaped me to be a modern African that I am?

Ever since childhood, I have been inquisitive about the world. Where did I come from? What is the beginning of everything? Why there is a predator vs. prey relationship in nature?

Later, as I was introduced to the idea of gods and a God, I wondered if this so-called “all-powerful” being did care about what was happening in the world, going on in the world. For example, why does there seem to be too much suffer-ration and unhappiness (and today I would add injustices too) in this world?

I felt and wondered, “Why should people die? Where do they go after, never to come back to reunite with their beloved one?!” Then, in my mind, I went on thinking about God. He is (they told/taught me) the creator of the entire seemingly harmonious universe. I wondered, innocently, “How the creator himself came into being? Who created the creator?”

Later on during youth and post-adolescence, I – like anyone at that stage of life – was on seeking for an Identity. I continued on asking myself, “Who am I?“, “What is life?”, and “What was the purpose of living?”

I inquired the adults to whom I regarded, at the time, as authorities – more knowledgeable on the subjects, but also as idols – teenage-hood hero-worship, but, somehow, I remained unsatisfied by most of their answers. I found their explanations to be what today I understand as dogmatic, fallacious, tenacious, superstitious, and even threatening. For example, the frightening story about hellfire cruelty on judgment day!

All I yearned for then was for the explanation to be sound – that is logical, rationally arrived at (reasonable), and satisfying and unifying. Thus out of disappointment, combined with an intense curiosity (a thirst) to know, I decided to embark on my own solo search to find the truth.

Therefore, at the youthful age of 19-years-old, I started a personal spiritual self-examining search in finding answers to the questions: who – what am I? What is the meaning and purpose of my existence? And who is this powerful creator we call “God”?

I should add: by that stage, I already became very interested, fascinated, with the Sun. This one Sun everyday emerging from the East going to sink in the West, endlessly. This Sun, though, is one but is seen by us all, the world over. Each seeing it from his/her different angle of his/her locality!

This Sun that influences (thus determining) seasons, weather, farming, food, motion, and energy’ surely, this must be the “Prime Mover” of most, if not all, phenomena of life and matter on the Earth. It is very beneficial & benevolent. I ended up asking myself if it was not this that was a God himself/itself!?

Thus I started as ignorant – then became agnostic by reading and reflecting, thinking deeply and freely with an intense exploratory zeal, examining books about major religions of the world, their evolution, historical development, the environment of growth, cultural background, and so on.

This extended into cults, denominations, and theologies. Equally with their symbolism, founders and beliefs, their holy books that I was able to get here, too: The Bible, the Koran, Analects, Kitabi Aqdas, and Bhavagad Gita.

Also, I studied the history of major Western philosophies as well as oriental ones. I studied my own African thinking as well. It was from tradition to the modern linkage. I continued on and read the different world cultures in a heuristic and comparative approach.

Out of which, I came to realize that as a modern African; I am a product of a “Triple heritage” of cultural socialization forces of Islamic Arabic, Euro-Christian Westernization, and Traditional African worldviews & social set-up. Then next, I self-studied human psychology and sociology.

I had an open and a free (flexible) conscience to adapt to any thinking. That is an idea and or value that I found to be positive, relevant, and appropriate to me & my situation, from any religious/philosophical source.

But also, I learnt to respect other people’s ideas/values that I myself could not adopt. And surprisingly, as I was continuing on with the research, I found myself developing (at the same time) my own worldview (philosophy) that I termed as “Sisi kwa Sisi”.

Ultimately, I came to discover by myself – 12 years after critical life and philosophical examination – as actually to belonging to or identifying with the Ethical Humanist philosophy.

That this is authentic, satisfying, and unifying and, therefore, meaningful to my intelligence as well as to my conscience in equal measure. In fact, it was what I have been believing and practicing hitherto, without knowing it by that label: “Eureka,” I finally found it!

The exploration had broadened my youthful mind, my understanding, greatly by giving me a global-cosmopolitan outlook. I have been influenced strongly, in different ways, by these eclectic ideas and or values: Gautama Buddha’s middle path, Confucius on each being responsible, the Stoic philosophers for endurance, Jesus Christ for parables, The Baha’i worldview for a unifying evolution of religions, David Hume for his skepticism, Emmanuel Kant and Baruch Spinoza’s views about positive human relations which is the beginning of all the subject of values, i.e., ethics & morality.

Also, the empiricists’ and pragmatists’ insistence to rely on experience (out of observations and experimentation) as the ultimate source of and test of knowledge and/or truth. Reverence/worship of the Sun as benevolent Prime Mover.

The monasteries of all pious coreligionists being the communal village model for the like-minded to live together, treating each other with respect and tolerance because everyone mattered.

And, of course, the cultural “triple heritage” influence by virtue of being born and socialized in modern Africa, that is by being an African. So, who am I today? I am a pious Ethical Humanist freethinker with a deistic to pantheistic (Baruch Spinoza) worldview.

Pious (that is religious) because that is my personal temperament/attitude/outlook to life.
Ethical because to me ethics/morality comes first before theology/creed in human relations.

Humanist because I believe that Man is the center of all his ideas and institutions he has himself created, including the ideas about God. Freethinker because I think/reflect fearlessly and with impartiality on any subject matter.

Deist because I have this view that the idea about God should be arrived at rationally, that is by reason and common sense, not by dogma. Also because, I am against religious (or any other) fanaticism regarding one’s own as the only right/true way and all of the others as totally wrong or false!

Pantheism (of Baruch Spinoza) because I hold this intellectually arrived-at view that God is everywhere manifesting through nature and its natural laws that keeps the universe in harmony, forever.

Also because, I believe man is part and parcel of nature, not above it. He is only above his own ideas and institutions he himself has created, but not above nature. He is part of it, being influenced by it strongly.

I support all three aspects of Humanism: Ethical, Religious, and Secular. I am in line per se with the concept of “Non-theism.” Now Sisi kwa Sisi – a Kiswahili name, slogan, saying and a catchphrase which means “all of us” inclusively or equally “together as one”…likewise “people to people” combines all these eclectic monads of influences into a single whole, in an African experience and, thus, context. That is my philosophy!

Nsajigwa & sisikwasisi

Mbeya Tanzania June, 1999 email: nsajigwa_sisikwasisi@yahoo.com

PS: Since then I became an Activist for my dear discovered philosophy – Secular based Humanism, co-founded an organization for that, named Jichojipya – Think Anew,  and worked to unearth Tanzanian freethinkers and unite same, notable point was interviewing a notable eminent public figure Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru, who revealed that he was an independent thinker and a lonesome freethinker, and not what the general populace (including his own leftist inclined comrades!) were thinking/ imagining/guessing about him.

More so have written articles on freethinking, skepticism, humanism challenging irrationality, gullibility, dark age mentality…presented papers internationally on that, translated IHEU 2002 AD into Swahili and much more aluta continua. Is possible to live good, Ethical life without religion? In Swahili “Maadili bila dini”, Ubinadamu – Utuwema kwanza, Uhuru wa fikra? The answer is affirmative: YES!

The African’s freedom odyssey liberation Safari (i) Political (attained from 1960s on), (ii) Economic (struggle continues), and (iii) Cultural – the final & hardest one (this hasn’t started, and many aren’t even aware of, surprisingly even otherwise Pan Africanistic “Radicals” are completely mute when it comes questioning religions, their own belief systems…colonial mentality acquired! Why?

Freethinking is Fearless thinking, it is called upon to initiate this one, emancipation from mental slavery including that of religion! Religions are but cultural phenomena! Cultures are man-made! It’s freethinker Nsajigwa…Current 2018 email: jichojipya@gmail.com.

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