Nsajigwa I Mwasokwa (Nsajigwa Nsa’sam) founded Jichojipya (meaning with new eye) to “Think Anew”. He is the Founder of Jicho Jipya/Think Anew Tanzania. We have talked before about freethought in Tanzania. Here we talk about atheist thinkers in Tanzania and atheist thinkers and literature.
Nsajigwa talked about an individual elder in the Tanzanian community, who was known as a public figure. His name is Kingunge Ngombale-Mwilu. In Tanzania, and an important point for even some more developed countries, Ngombale-Mwilu is the only person known, in a public position, to be sworn in without holding a Bible or a Quran.
Since Tanzanian independence, he has served in top ranking positions as a minister of the state. “That is, how we suspected him to be a nonbeliever and on interviewing him recently he came out as such, a freethinker who is Agnostic (though our society thought of him as a socialist communist),” Nsajigwa explained.
In Nsajigwa’s interactions with Ngombale-Mwilu, he, Ngombale-Mwilu, self-described as a freethinker. He was inspired by philosophy, especially the writings of Thomas Paine and Ludwig Feuerbach, saying, “It’s not god creating man in his own image but rather a man creating God in his imagination.”
Nsajigwa pointed to himself too. That he is a long-time freethinker and an autodidact, a self-taught Tanzanian philosopher. He is an avid reader and someone who believes, as a freethinker, in the ability to live ethically without religion.
I asked about some books. He noted a deceased person named Agoro Anduru. Anduru, by Nsajigwa’s account, was a good writer. There are stories in Swahili written by Mohamed Salum Abdalla, or Bwana Msa, and “speeches by Mwalimu (Swahili for a teacher) Nyerere – Tanzanian founder father, teaching, insisting and reminding on several occasions that Tanzania is a secular state,” Nsajigwa recommended.
There are, in general, biases and prejudices against the non-religious around the world from social ostracisation to the death penalty. The organized atheist community is beginning to emerge with some pioneering freethinkers such as Nsajigwa and others.
The writers, the public figures, the intellectuals and philosophers, these people are beginning to gain ground in some of the more difficult contexts for atheist or nonbelievers. Where this will end up, it becomes a question of individual human choices with individual leaders providing some guiding light in the open seas of philosophical life, including Nsajigwa and others.
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