Today’s interview is with Keizy Paul, a 29-year old electronics engineer from Kampala, Uganda.
How do you identify?
I identify as a gay African.
How long have you known that you are child free?
Ever since I was in my teen years. I didn’t see [having children] as something so important or something that I should strive to achieve. It wasn’t in my plan. I had career goals, and the goal building myself up and make something meaningful out of my life. I just knew that having children wasn’t important.
Why don’t you want children?
If I had children, I don’t think I’d be a good parent. Secondly, I’m an antinatalist. I think having children is morally problematic. What I mean is, bringing children into this world exposes them to a vast array of harms, which would be troublesome for the child.
Basically what antinatalism is all about is stopping potential suffering of the unborn child. I subscribe to that philosophy quite strongly.
Are you out to your family?
Yes. They know that I’m not going have children at any time in the future. They’re comfortable with and respect my decision. They have no problem with it.
How have people’s reactions been outside of your family?
My childfreedom is pretty abrasive. When it comes to my peers, they think I’m evil, that I’m selfish, for not wanting to bring a child into existence. It’s pretty rough. I’ve lost a couple of friends because of my views about procreation. It gets lonely sometimes. It’s not easy being childfree especially down here.
Do you belong to a community of childfree people?
Yes, they are mostly online American communities. I’m trying hard to start one down here in Uganda. But a lot of people here are obsessed with breeding and childbearing. Most of the groups I’m in are foreign.
Are there any challenges dealing with childfree people from a different cultural background from you?
The people in these groups are not vastly different. They are mostly white groups run by white, middle-class people.
There is a tinge of racism in these groups. They have this tendency to look down on you because you’re black and African. Sometimes when you tell them you’re childfree their responses are incredible. They can’t believe that you are black and childfree. That’s the trouble I run into when interacting in these groups.
Do you do activism around childfree work?
I run a Facebook page and to try raise awareness. I’ve printed some t-shirts. I have a few childfree friends, we go out on campaigns around Kampala, especially in the ghettos advocating for things like vasectomies and family planning. It’s in its infant stages.
What would you want to change for childfree Africans?
I want to eradicate the stigma of being African and childfree, because that’s the problem I face. African societies are heavily pronatalist, so seeing that change would be what I strive for.