Godlessness gains ground in Ghana
Sceptics in Ghana are not only making waves locally but also internationally according to leading Nigerian humanist and human rights campaigner Leo Igwe.
Earlier this year, Roslyn Mould from Accra, above, became the first Ghanaian to be elected to the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation (IHEYO). Despite a record number of nominations this year, Ms Mould now holds the position of Secretary of the African Working Group, whose President is Ugandan Kato Mukasa.
The Ghana conference will be held at the W E B Dubois Centre, Accra. The theme of the event is “African Youth for Science and Reason”. Topics to be discussed include Communicable diseases (Ebola, etc), Health and Medicine in West Africa, Science, Technology and Reason, Sex and Relationships as African Atheists, Feminism in Africa, and Witchcraft Accusations in West Africa. There are plans to organise trainings and workshops for participants. Igwe said:
The group is gradually becoming the hub of organised humanism in West Africa. Humanists in Ghana organised its first international humanist conference in 2012. That conference attracted participants from other West African countries and beyond. The event has demonstrated the vibrancy of organised humanism in one of the world’s most religious country.
At the time Ghana ranked as the most religious country in a survey of 57 nations.
Igwe pointed out that:
A lot has been said about the growing influence of religion in Sub Saharan Africa – the looming threat of jihadist Islam and evangelical Christianity – but no much has been said about the emergence of humanism, scepticism, secularism and free thought in the region.
An increasing number of Africans do not have any religion. Many people across the continent are going open and public with their humanist, atheistic and skeptical views and identity. Non religious Africans are leaving the closet in their numbers. African unbelievers are beginning to organise like their religious counterparts in many countries.
Godless people in Ghana are becoming visible. Non religious people are speaking out. The profile of humanism in Ghana is growing rapidly.
Humanists in Ghana, he said, have staged many social gatherings in the past years. These have served to give non believers in Ghana a sense of community. There is a growing humanist fellowship in this west African country.
Not only is Ghana’s religious landscape is changing. Africa’s “beliefscape”is undergoing a dramatic transformation too.
Humanists are beginning to discover that there are other people of like minds. The humanist movement in Africa is growing in strength and number. A wave of secularism and freethought is sweeping across the region.
The theme of this conference is a welcome development for the region. Africa needs events that can expose its youths to reason and science.
It is imperative that African youths begin to think rationally and scientifically because reason and science are the mainstay of modern development.
One of the greatest obstacles to African development is superstition and religious extremism. These superstitious beliefs are common among young people. Religious fanaticism is draining Africa’s youth capital. African youths needs programmes that encourage them to think critically as opposed to activities that reward dogma and blind faith.
The members of the Humanist Association of Ghana are predominantly young people. This is a positive and promising development for the region. I hope other African youths will emulate their Ghanaian counterparts by embracing the values of reason science and critical thinking.