Am seated alone, trying to collect memoirs on my acts that could have made the nation see me so devilish while it is just an exercise of my intellect, to understand my democratic space of existing, not to worship but to rejoice within my secular happenstance, that which they forbid as atheism. Yes, I am a nonbeliever!
As if my curiosity originated from the cats; I regret not loving them as pets anyway. However, the different breeds I have seen in my childhood have made me feel globalised, civilized and of gist in this world of ownership. I say this because my family benefited greatly from gifts donated by the Texas Church of Christ, them people who came as missionaries and relieved Africa of its burden. Personally, I had my primary education paid for and I had to repay this by being on the boys’ club, attending Sunday school and vocational bible school in addition to either joining the boys choir or drama school. Nothing good came out of it, only that I played basketball better than most Americans who came to visit their mission projects as sponsored by the Texas Church of Christ through the Texas Golf Club. At least I knew where my stipend came from, and this organized Christianity made me the skeptic I be today, in this time of war, guns, votes and hunger.
I speak English with an American accent, not that I have been living in them States but because of the close personal interaction I had with the missionaries, who not only brought us unique ways of culture but promised development in their ways of reaching out the gospel they had. I remember my dad being one of the few Kenyan Africans to benefit within this projection of the Texas mission, for he was a senior pastor with the church, helping to delve into the communities and rural areas where vernacular was the basic communiqué. On this note I fail to blame religion, for it perfected my thought and globalised my intentions, made me see the lime and lemon of life, to dawn on the dilemmas of not having a dream to elude Kenya as many of my peers believed to be the beginning of life, though I don’t deny that I wanted to get to Texas or Atlanta so badly that my SAT scores were just close to that of an Indian. I passed the science bit of it and the English part of the test, which was uncommon for average Africans. In response to this, I got a number of scholarships and a guarantee for an American visa. I showed this to my dad as he was the only source of such huge funds that would be needed for me to start a living in the land of goodies. His reaction was so cold that I tore up my admission papers and visa appointments, swearing never to quest for academics outside Kenya, swearing that my dad was as full of shit as the religion he prophesied in his hypocritical ways that made him no better than the Nubian slaves who were made Arabs by the Northern Sudanese, brainwashed to think that they were yellow and thinskinned whereas they were shiny black with kinky hair. Perhaps this state of unnatural equality is the root cause of war in Sudan.
The triumph for humanism in Africa has been loud since the late nineties and more bold since the beginning of this millennia in which we enjoy close-up interactions. Sadly enough is the state of divide between those supportive organizations to which Africa and Asia could best look up to for direction and assistance. The politics of hunger, the ideas of the mirror and the celebrations of accomplished missions still have a negative effect in the governance of most regions to which atheism is betted to be the only direction of hope, including the blasphemous continents that think America (U.S. for this matter) is hell on Earth and Iraq is the holiest ground on planet. The jihadist mentality creeps within the African mind as it tries to reclaim the African traditional thought system, to integrate it with Islam, claiming that everyone is a Muslim without knowing, only that we deviate into many ways of competition in trying to get there. What a piece of shit that line depicts!
Perhaps if a few well-established secular organizations would team up to support groups in Africa and Asia then the global quest for a world free from religious dogmatism would never be a grip within fear but a bold movement to reality. That is why there is a need for a collective fund of action for Africa, a continent that has struggled with religion and stupidity to the extent that secularization has been made legit, a take from a few Islamic-oriented nations like Libya or even Egypt, who form crosscontinent alliances in an attempt to protect the holy land and destroy the theological hell. I doubt whether issues of 9/11 had no fixed agendas, whether Bin Laden’s actions lacked justifications of some sort, but the major sociological concern was what the secular associations did, mainly the organized groups that have been proactive in telling the governments where they belie to accept their stances.
The accomplishment that humanism has proven in Uganda, that atheism can do whatever religion can, and in a much more perfect way, is just the way to go. The Uganda Humanist School is an enlightenment within this call for global action, not that Uganda’s academic system is wanting. No! In fact, many Kenyans travel as far as Uganda to pursue education, since the stringent regulations in Kenya limit academics to higher levels, for the government believes in producing only the perfect, and the qualifications of getting to be perfected are just beyond the intellectual capability of many Kenyans who struggle with their a dollar per day state of life, which splits their needs into sustainability, hope and ignorance, to which the latter is the greater percentage.
In my quest to make humanism acceptable in Kenya I have tried to reminisce the lifestyle that the missionaries provided me, the intellectual development I enjoyed on my teenage days and the struggle with undetermined poverty that I encountered during my high school and undergraduate education. Things are just full of reflection, for which organized atheism can give a better view of.
My doubts that there is no god came to reality after my reading of many supportive publications on the same, literature that made me enact my stand that I am not alone in this quest of destroying the delusion of a supernatural deity. However, Africa is full of customs, things that people believe should be repeated so as to sustain their survival as distinct beings. In short, they are very superstitious. My past attempts to publish have not been received with applause, for conferences where I attend to present papers, those old goons who might have read my books attempt to put a sympathetic glance on me so that my actions may be full of regret. I only retaliate by showing them that the youthful can equally critically think and enjoy the constitutional right of expression.
The Jahwar Amber Fund, the organization that is currently vibrating the secular quest in a loud call for support, has been on media alert since February 2011, and today faces utmost criticism from the religiously-organized groups, who now term themselves as the “Religious Council of Kenya”, an entity that unites the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Village Elders’ in an amalgam of control. Some say it is a government tactic of distributing the opium that Karl Marx discovered to be the weak spot in any nation where poverty is a challenge. This opium won’t help in an empty belly, only science will forge ahead.
With increase networking, Jahwar Amber Fund could accomplish most of its projects and even become the hand of hope for many Kenyans who have been stranded on the platonic dilemmas of whether to relinquish their religion, and whether they may regret doing so. There is a need for more resources and efforts in making atheism acceptable to Africans in as much as 88 percent of the population can’t read. JAF is currently trying to use photography as the means to proclaim the secular practice and progress the need for a secular world. We hope that talking through pictures will eventually make science acceptable to the rural Kenyans and those adults who never made it to classrooms. Pictures will make atheism have a mission delivered by visionaries, not missionaries as the Texas Golf Club supported. There is a need to approach secular companies for support, a need to identify the priorities that this globe would relate to and quest for some adamant strategy that would be even more gigantic than the metaphors contained within the religious scribes. Africa needs the help of global atheists, and Kenya is just a good example of where such help would do a wonderful accomplishment.
*: Boaz Adhengo is the founder and past president of the Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya. Currently he serves as the Programs Director for the Jahwar Amber Fund, an AAI affiliate. Adhengo lost his job for organizing the JAF Festival 2011, the first ever atheist conference in Kenya. He has been elected to the AAI Board of Directors.