Atheism and the Challenge of Deconversion in Black South Africa

AtheismArticle By: Leo Igwe

South Africa is witnessing a new awakening. The country’s religious landscape is undergoing a rapid change because increasing number of people in black communities are going open with their atheism and non-religiosity. At the same time, atheists in black communities face serious challenges because deconversion comes at a price.

Recently I came in contact with a black South African, Thamsanqa, who has been an atheist for the past five years. He recounts his tortuous journey to atheism:
“I was born into a Catholic family. I did not experience much religious devotion in my first eight years. My mom had married into Catholicism, yet she was not actively religious. We would only say prayers when my father was in high spirits. The failure of my parents’ marriage made my mother to return to the pentecostal church. My parents separated and we had to move out of our home with my mother. She did not have much of a background, where she would return to. So she rented backrooms in other people’s homes which we adopted as our home”.

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Prohibiting Corporal Punishment is Crucial To Ending Violence against Children in South Africa

Corporal PunishmentToday, Sonke Gender Justice in collaboration with Africa Child Policy Forum, The Africa Experts Committee on the Rights and the Welfare of the Child, Child Helpline International, Plan International, Save the Children and UNICEF launched the Action on Violence against Children campaign.

 

This is a multi-country campaign initially focusing on Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia. The number of reported cases of sexual, physical and emotional violence against children in Eastern and Southern Africa is horrifying – and these are just the instances we know about.

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A Black South African Woman’s Journey to Atheism

atheismSouth Africa is one of the least religious countries in Africa. About 15 percent of the population identifies as having no religious affiliation and that includes atheists. While some would argue that the country’s non-theistic demography is mainly white, there is a growing number of black South Africans who are atheists and who do not profess any religion. So, the religious demography in the country is undergoing a rapid change.

Recently I conversed with a black South African woman, Nosipho, who narrated how she abandoned her Christian faith and embraced atheism: “I am 39 years and was raised by my grandparents, my mother had me when she was just completing school and when she got married, my grandparents thought it was better that they raised me. My grandparents both attended Assemblies of God and so I grew up having to compulsorily attend church. I therefore became aware of “Jesus the Savior” early in my life and of course the promise of heaven through Jesus and Hell if you reject him”.

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South Africa should embrace African unity, to protect the rights and security of all foreign nationals

Xenophobic attacksMonday, May 25, is “Africa Day,” and Sonke urges the South African government to take urgent steps to repair relations with other countries in Africa, and to embrace African unity, amidst serious xenophobic violence and government crackdowns targeting African and Asian migrants in South Africa.

Africa Day is the commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU), and is a day that people around the world celebrate African culture and African unity.

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South Africa arrests hundreds over xenophobic violence

Police arrest more than 300 for crimes against migrants, after violence kills eight and displaces more than 1,000. South Africa’s government has vowed to crack down on xenophobic violence, after arresting more than 300 people for a range of crimes against migrants. Authorities said on Sunday in Johannesburg that 307 suspects had been arrested for a range of xenophobic-related crimes. Security agencies have also increased the police presence on the ground after at least eight deaths in anti-immigrant violence in the past week. “They have actually pushed other people to…

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South Africa to probe spy cables leak

. View photo Rwanda’s former army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa walks into court in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 21, 2012 (AFP Photo/Alexander Joe)   Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa has launched an investigation into the leak of espionage secrets to an international television news channel and a British newspaper, the state security minister said Wednesday.   “A full investigation has been launched into the purported leakage,” Minister David Mahlobo said in a statement. “The leaking of the purported documents detailing operational details of the State Security Agency is condemned…

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South Africa: The State versus identity Document (ID)

South African Identity DocumentsCape Town, 6 February:  South African citizens can do almost nothing without an Identity Document (ID). People whose ID particulars do not match their gender identity, gender expression and ultimately who they are, face obstruction, regular ridicule and discrimination. When the power of the state and the public sector control, rather than serve an individual’s most fundamental resource— their body— the consequences can be devastating. 

South African law, through the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act (Act 49), affords people the right to change the sex description markers in their official documents. These markers include one’s name; the number included in everyone’s ID number that indicates sex; and the ‘male’ or ‘female’ category on one’s birth certificate.

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Sonke Gender Justice condemns the outbreak of xenophobic violence in Gauteng

Protesting  xenophobic violence in GautengSonke Gender Justice (Sonke) joins fellow human rights activists around the globe to condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence against non-South African individuals living and working within our borders and calls on our government to take urgent action to both protect all people in South Africa, and to prosecute strongly those perpetrating violence against others.

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SA heads for new DRC war

South Africa has 1000 troops in the DRC as part of the UN’s Force Intervention Brigade, which is tasked with “neutralising” threats to the region. File photoImage by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS   The government yesterday announced that a confrontation with Forces for Democratic Liberation of Rwanda in the Democratic Republic of Congo was “inevitable”. Four thousand FDLR soldiers, many of whom were involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, terrorise the eastern DRC. The looming fight comes after the FDLR ignored the UN’s January 2 disarmament deadline. Department of International Relations…

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