Africa: Hall of Horrors
By Kirumira Mpagi Michael, former missionary, now Public Relations Officer for Atheist Association of Uganda
Africa is perhaps the most miserable place the world has ever known. This fact is all but ignored by the media in western Countries. Most of the governments here, although calling themselves promoters of democracies, are ruthless dictatorships, ruled by greed and callous disregard for human life and dignity. They are supported by religious institutions that desire a share in the power, and they are supported by the “Western World” because they can still exploit them for profit. That’s Africa, for you friends in Minnesota.
The misery of Africa and poor Africans should make the rest of the world hang their heads in shame. In my country Uganda and Africa in general, we are in the same social position that Europe was for two thousand years until the early nineteen hundreds.
The poor were slaves, exploited on farms and in factories. There was no care for their health or well-being, children were sent to the mines or to slave for 14 hours a day in terrible factories. That was the system the colonizers brought to our lovely Africa when they colonized us.
In Europe they got rid of tribal differences, got rid of religion in government through instituting separation of religion from government and only then could they move on and create a decent society. Until we do this, change and civilization is still decades away from us here in Africa. Tribalism and nepotism are far worse than racism.
Uganda and most African countries will have to embrace strong atheist activism if we are to smell the waves of change that we are currently observing in countries like Ghana and Tanzania which are offering much hope to their citizens. But again religion is influencing them from hitting that “red button” of reality within secular and atheist principles. Our arms should always be unfolded for them too.
Nothing on this continent can change until nepotism and tribal differences are rendered a non-issue, religion is made powerless, and dictators, rulers, and kings think of their people before themselves. This shouldn’t discourage us from doing everything we can to change this state of affairs.
We should not let religionists determine our fate, or mark our boundaries. We should lay the foundation of which other future generations will continue when we are tired or transformed in immortals humans (this is my wish to be enhanced to become more useful even when I no longer hold this life which I have now).
The recent extravaganza by the king in Swaziland is a criminal offence to human dignity. The majority of citizens of Swaziland survive on next to nothing, they suffer the highest AIDS rate in Africa, and last year King Mswati allowed his wives to go on an expensive shopping trip in Europe. His 14 wives each own and drive a BMW, heavy security guards paid by taxpayer’s money belonging to the poor citizens of Swaziland. Christianity is the dominant religion in Swaziland, but traditional myth still carries more influence in the lives of Swazi people.
The kingdom of Swaziland is one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies. King Mswati III rules by decree over his million subjects, most of whom live in the countryside and follow traditional ways of life and very poor indeed. Nonetheless, the waves of change are blowing weakly there too, even though State control of the media is strong. The government controls all radio and TV stations with the exception of a Christian radio station. The freedom of expression in the press is seriously restricted.
Some of these issues are very hard to talk about here in Africa; so when we skip them for a while, just understand that it’s because of Church and State oppression. For example, free-thinkers would love to tackle the issue of GLBT rights, but because homosexuality is illegal, and because even the discussion of homosexuality is illegal, it’s too dangerous to discuss it, it’s the same thing with overpopulation, abortion and many more issues.