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Atheist Ugandan works his magic on British humanists

'Uganda lives under the shadow of the proposed anti-gay bill, which suggests the death penalty in some cases.' Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA

An atheist talkshow host and 12 "like-minded people" are attempting to tackle superstition, mysticism and witchcraft in Uganda. James "Fat Boy" Onen is an on-air presenter for Sanyu FM and a co-founder of Freethought Kampala. Through Facebook campaigns, newspaper articles and regular monthly meetings, Onen believes Freethought Kampala is providing the only rational platform for tackling superstition in Uganda.

This month, Onen has been speaking at events around the UK after being invited by the British Humanist Association (BHA). Addressing small gatherings, he said everyday Ugandans were over-reliant on a "mixed bag" of belief in black magic and Pentecostal Christianity.

"On my talkshow, I offer two million Ugandan shillings to anyone that would prove to me that witchcraft works," he told an audience at the Camden Head pub in London this week. "After three months, one person came forward and took me to a witch doctor, of course he could not do anything." He continued: "But that was not sufficient to change people's minds because they are of the view that evil spirits exist. This is because their pastors are telling them every day that Uganda is cursed and that Uganda suffers from a 'generational curse'."

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