Nsajigwa I Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam) founded Jichojipya (meaning with new eye) to “Think Anew”. We have talked before about freethought in Tanzania. He is a pioneer freethinker in Tanzania and has trained in Tanzania and Japan in farming, cultural tourism, youth development from the grassroots, worked as a tour guide, in teaching, in translation from English to Swahili and vice versa, and in the incubation and mentorship of the youth. Here we continue the discussion, other conversations here, here, here, and here, and here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Nsajigwa I Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam) is a pioneer in the freethought movement in Tanzania. Our conversations spanned a wide set of topics. I wanted to double down on the descriptions of Tanzania.
In particular, the daily lives of the believers in Tanzania. Their rituals and superstitions and the impacts on how they live in the world. It seemed like a non-trivial thing to emerge from our conversations. I am lucky.
Nsajigwa is in essence a founder of freethought in Tanzania, akin to Dr. Leo Igwe in Nigeria or Roslyn Mould and her husband Kwabena in Ghana, or Robert Bwambale with the Kasese Humanist Schools, or Takudzwa Mazwienduna and Gayleen Cornelius with the first progressive publication not only South Africa but potentially Southern Africa (the region of the continent rather than simply on of its countries) with Cornelius Press.
Nsajigwa stated, “Impacts are, believers use sound amplifiers in sermons even at night for the Pentecostals. It causes “noise pollution” tolerated (endured) because it is in the name of God. Even Moslem have adopted that on Fridays and for Muezzins daily.”
One of the practices from the fundamentalist religious ideas here. People have the freedoms to believe and practice. However, this conflicts and should, ideally, moderate with others’ abilities to live their lives peacefully or more comfortably, e.g. the noise pollution.
Nsajigwa finds the religious self-assured in thinking that God is on their side. That their side, with God, is the sole correct way to lives one’s life. “By contradiction, they would insist on maintaining our cultural values yet forget even these modern scruples that we cherish today as “ours” came from outside,” Nsajigwa said.
It is the idea of prejudice to say African culture is that which came from outside. That “our very prejudice to say African culture being based on those very holy books from outside Africa, yet still they would be against “western values” meaning secular one’s example on dress code, how women should or shouldn’t wear,” Nsajigwa continued, “this or that being against our (African) ethics, they would argue.”
Nsajigwa describes the anti-secularist or non-secularist at a minimum view of the world. That science amounts to a Western thing. Even though, the Tanzanians use the various modern technologies brought about the scientific revolutions.
These include medications, telephones and cell phones, televisions, transportation of various kinds, and so on. There is an overwhelming stance against the theory of evolution as well. According to Nsajigwa, people do not understand it.
Also, they are not prepared to know about it. It becomes a nested problem. “It causes blame game mentality, just looking for someone or something to blame on – be it the devil, snake, women or the West. Some have compartmentalized, they live secular life but becomes religious on Fridays Saturdays and Sundays,” Nsajigwa explained.
They pray at a constant rate, men and women, as individuals and in fellowship. Then if bad things happen in their lives, they blame others for their problems. If women have a problem in with their children, they blame someone else. If men have romantic troubles, they blame the world or women, or something spiritual. That is how I would interpret that playing out.
“It is a witch-hunt mentality. They go around preach threatening people with stories of hellfire, in some cases their prayers ending in ecstatic trances,” Nsajigwa stated, “On Superstitions, they believe in speaking (while in a trance) an unknown language sounding “abracadabra” as if from Congo.”
Furthermore, they believe in the chasing away of the evil spirits and the so-called jinns. They pay tithings, pray, and so on, for employment and promotions in work, for someone to marry, and to even win cases in court.
It can create a negative lifecycle for otherwise decent Tanzanians.
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