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Kenya: Shave your head and believe in God!

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During last year´s census in Kenya, 2% turned to be atheists or not confessing to any religion. Maybe, I was among the 2%,
maybe not. During the census exercise, I remember telling the renumerator that I was an atheist in front of my mom. There was a tense moment. How can I not belong to a religion that my mom has provided in the data?
The guy wanted to tick Christian. I refused but I am not sure what he did with the results afterwards. What I know is that I
refused to be counted as a Christian. Since April last year, I have been living in the village. Our place is partly a town and a village. They call it Township. It’s in Nyamira County. Here, my challenges range from, identity, culture, religion and tribe. As a dreadlocked musician who plays the traditional instrument obokano from South Western Kenya, my daily interactions are not easy. There are those who think I am a witch, those who think I am crazy. Even crazier when I don’t subscribe to religion. I have to deal with lots of questions from people on matters of dreadlocks and non-belief. Sometimes they call me Rash, as if I have rashes. Lots of people wrongly harass me shouting: – RASTAFALA! I have had many people come to me to
ask for Marijuana.

Just yesterday, I met a man who said: – ‘You look like a lady’,
‘Yes I am a lady,’ I answered. There was silence. You see in these parts that is a man’s way to mean you’re useless. Ours is a
patriarchal society. Men feel special by dismissing women by quoting the scriptures as well. The first time that I revoked or
refused Christianity in total sense was in 1998. As a new entrant in high school, and from a poor background, my mother used to have us pray behind closed doors wherever I went looking for school fees. To me, I used to feel really sad and emotional because of how my mother said her prayers. Here I was, troubled with school life and trying to fit in and here is mum putting all ages problems in prayer. Long prayers. It was heavy. After three prayer instances, I started opening the door and really go without her noticing. I started eating before they prayed for food and since then it’s become a tradition. We don’t pray for food before we eat anymore. In our family, there are no prayers. My mother listens to Christian
broadcasts. In my entire life, I have never seen my mother go to a church. I hear she goes sometimes when I am in the city.
Women say that if I have to talk to them, I have to be clean shaven. I wonder what they would say if I mentioned that I don’t
believe in God. Some that happen to hear my conversations especially on non-belief scream and start praying. I have been open with my position as an atheist. I wear atheist t-shirts. But this has led me to debates. I am always called Illuminati, Antichrist, Satan, devil, etc. Many times I am denied opportunities, access and equality but I always find a way out.I am always a person with questionable attributes to many. Yet, I always present myself without changing anything daily. I am
that proud. I wake up daily expecting to meet the same experience. As for I love my way of life, I am not shaving my head and I am not believing in God.

Dennis Dancan Mosiere, AKA Grandmaster Masese, Kenyan musician and poet.


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