What is Humanism?
“Humanism is a philosophical world view in which we look at the world and centre our focus on man kind and human interests but not to the exclusion of other animal species but definitely to the exclusion of all superstitions including all forms of gods,angels, devils and all things delusional and imaginary. It’s only one life we have to live so we live it purposefully, rationally, scientifically with a secular outlook without imposing our values on others…”
Kato Mukasa, Lawyer, Speaker, Writer, and Humanist Leader based in Kampala, Uganda
“Humanism is a moral outlook of the world with humanity at its core. Cultures, beliefs and tradition do not take priority over human rights and wellbeing in a Humanist society.
Humanism is in the best position to replace most cultural aspects whose essence was detached from the human experience such as baby naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals. Humanist Celebrants therefore are becoming the priests, ministers and master of ceremonies in the rising progressive society. They celebrate humanity and reform key cultural aspects of our traditions and society.”
Takudzwa is a Scientist and Humanist Leader based in South Africa
“Humanism is a philosophy that appeals to all persons to make an attempt to coexist in harmony with life around them at its natural best. It taps into our empathetic and rational capacity to not be dismissive about the concerns and interests of others but embrace them without prejudice. Simply put humanism in practice is an honest conversation that seek to understand human diversity as we gravitate towards equally sharing social spaces and living a good life.
Humanist ceremonies are important to Africa because they celebrate and truly focus on the things that matter to us.
More than 80% of African ceremonies are done in the same way, a priest in front, a 2000 year old book in hand, same verses recited and the usual praises to an almighty deity before people go their separate ways. There is little to no room for any innovation or any meaningful interactions. In fact there is none at all. It’s no surprise that most funerals, baby welcoming ceremonies and marriages in particular end up in disaster or with the people who truly matter disgruntled.
This is why we need to embrace humanist ceremonies in Africa more than ever before.
Humanist ceremonies are guided by conversation, by joy, happiness and shared moments. Without these things which essentially make up the core of our self. African Ceremonies will completely lose all meaning and everything they claim to represent will be baseless and doomed to fail if we don’t give them a humanist touch.
The level of domestic violence, separation and abuse is now alarming in many homes in Africa. There is no proper room for a honest conversation between couples before they embrace marriage and there is no clear way ( going by church teachings) how a bitter marriage can be wound up.This calls for humanist ceremonies which give the couple a chance to have an honest conversation before committing themselves including ways how to keep their union strong and how such a Union can be ended amicably.
Africa needs to be reminded to have a conversation, to share memories free from ideological control that has blinded us not to question what we were taught by those who imposed religions on us.
We need to have ceremonies our way and this is essentially what Humanist ceremonies represent – a simple platform to converse and share joy.”
Blessing Max Masiku is a Humanist Celebrant, a trained Chemist,Writer and Social Worker based in Zimbabwe.