This is the expression of joy, pleasure, excitement and satisfaction by a person or a group of Individuals. It can be expressed through smiling, laughing and screaming among others.

Happiness differs from age to age, person to person and from opportunity to opportunity.

Therefore, this means that what makes a child or a youth happy may not make an elderly person or an adult happy.

In the same way people can be happy depending on the opportunities available to them and this also differs from the chances that they have. 

Happiness is also based on the personality or the character of an individual.

Happiness in the Present Situation

The following are the general ideas and views people think about as sources of happiness.

1. Many people when they are in a good relationship with God they share their spiritual life with God through religious activities like praying, fasting, praise and worship because God is the source of everything today.

2. Being in good marriage makes some people happy especially where there's love, faithfulness and understanding others. In such case their emotion feelings are well' catered for.

3. Giving birth in a marriage relationship makes people happy. Children are a blessing from God and it shows that there's a continuity of the lives of parents.

4. Attaining and attending good formal education are sources of happiness of people. Educational qualifications like diploma, degree and masters-among others make people happy as they lead to employment and better-living standards

5. To most people, having material wealth/like land, houses and huge sums of money are sources of happiness. A part from giving them prestige, it makes their lives easier as they are in a better condition to support themselves and others.

6. Employment especially in popular jobs with attractive income like managers, lawyers and accountancy make some people happy. The incomes they get from their jobs help them to solve their immediate needs and even invest.

7. To some people, happiness is all about being popular in the community. The musicians and footballers find joy in pulling huge crowd after them. Because of their popularity they feel great and respected and this gives them joy.

8 .Enjoying leisure activities like singing, touring, listening to music brings joy to almost everyone. Such activities refresh their minds and promote good inter-personal relationship among others.

9. Being in good health is a source of joy. It is an avenue through which a person can live longer. Besides, it makes it possible for the individuals to engage in productive activities in order to better their lives.

10. Coming out victorious in stiff competitions makes people happy. For example, winning a highly contested election or a difficult game makes the individuals to feel loved.

11. Political stability or good governance is a source of joy to many people. It ensures that there is peace and harmony among the people.

12. Observing culture is a source of joy among some people. It helps to give them identity as a particular group of people.

13. Having a good relationship with the community members makes the people happy. The people feel secured because of this.       

14. Attaining economic development is an aspect of happiness today. Economic development such as industrial growth improved education, health and roads help to ease life in the community through offering employment and income.

Unhappiness in the present situation

Unhappiness is the feeling or expression of sorrow, sadness, disappointment or misery by a person or a group of individuals.      

Unhappiness can be expressed by being gloomy, fighting, crying, jeering, quarrelling.

Therefore unhappiness in the present situation is associated with the following; ,

1. Unemployment despite one's qualifications. This makes it difficult for a person to earn a living especially after spending a lot to attain the qualification.

2. Death of a family member or a friend causes sadness brought about by physical separation and the loss of the, contributions of the departed.

3. Marital unfaithfulness especially adultery causes sorrow. It shows lack of commitment in    one's relationship. It is an act of betrayal.            

4. Domestic violence makes people unhappy. It has always led to bodily injuries and death among others.

5. Political instability is the cause of unhappiness. It is always associated with loss of lives, destruction of property and the feeling of insecurity.

6. People are unhappy because of discrimination basing on sex, tribe, religion and status among others. This becomes a source of insecurity and makes people to feel unwanted and useless in the society.

7. Barrenness or infertility in marriage causes of unhappiness in many families. This is especially if one partner desires to have

8. Poverty causes unhappiness today. The poor people may fail to provide basic needs for themselves and this leads to misery.

9. Exploitation of workers makes so many people unhappy. In such work places there is low payment, delay payment and over working among others.     

8. Cultural rigidity causes unhappiness to many people. Some cultures deny the individuals their freedom and lead to suffering in different forms like the circumcision of female among the Sebei people.

9. Divorce causes unhappiness. It comes with the feeling of being rejected thereby causing shame and discomfort.

10. Mob justice causes sadness. It publically humiliates the suspected criminal including his or her family members. This means that such people become a laughing stock in public hence leading to unhappiness.

12. The existing level of poverty in Uganda today is a major factor causing unhappiness. It renders an individual helpless to acquire with basic needs such food, education, medical care, clothing and others.

12. Corruption is also causing unhappiness today. This is a practice where some civil servants misuse facilities meant to benefit the public for their own gains. This is selfishness and greediness that cause suffering to others.

13. Unwanted pregnancies are responsible for unhappiness today. The girl or the woman and the man may not be ready to bear a child for one reason or another. It is even made worse on the side of woman who may not know the man responsible for the pregnancy or when the man denies the responsibility.

14. Diseases including AIDS, Malaria, cholera and others today are causing unhappiness. This is as a result of continuous body weaknesses that render an individual helpless to do anything.

Happiness in African Traditional Society

In African traditional society, there were commonly accepted values that guided people's lives. Therefore, everybody knew and understood what it meant to be happy. The main ideas of about happiness include the following.

1. According to the traditional Africans, happiness meant a state of being contented with what one had or what one was.

2. Happiness in traditional Africa was being in harmony or in a good relationship with the spirits (gods), deceased ancestors, neighbors, and tribes. It was believed that one would receive blessings through this kind of relationship.

3. Happiness in traditional Africa laid in having good harvest and plenty of food. This was an insurance against famine within the homestead.

4. Happiness in traditional Africa was being in possession of material wealth such as land, cattle, sheep, goat and others. People with such materials were highly. respected in the community.

5. Happiness in traditional Africa meant being faithful to the customs or the traditions of the society. Such traditions created the sense of belonging.

6. Being elderly and wise was considered happiness in traditional African society. The wise elders held status in the community because of using their wisdom to guide other members. They were therefore considered the light of the society and given much respect.

7. Happiness in traditional Africa was understood as having power and prestige. Leaders such as kings, chiefs, clan leaders and others were given much respect and were therefore happy.

8.  Happiness in traditional Africa was linked to having many children. Children were considered God's blessing to the marriages, source of labour and insurance against old age among others. People with children were therefore happy basing on this ground.

9. In traditional Africa, happiness meant being married. Marriage was a compulsory aspect of social life. Being married therefore meant being loyal to the existing culture.

10. In traditional Africa happiness also meant being faithful to one's role in the society. This was because fulfilling ones' duties like being a mother, a father, and a son etc. created unity and the sense of belonging among the members.

11. Being healthy was considered happiness in traditional Africa. This was an indication that one was in good terms with the ancestral spirits. It also meant that one could live for a longer period.

12. Marrying many wives was a source of happiness for men in traditional Africa. Such men were respected because of the responsibility they had like feeding the many wives and their children. The respect given to such men brought them joy.  

13. Happiness in traditional Africa was understood as sharing all the resources within the community like land. This explains why the poor and disabled were not considered failures in life. This prevented selfishness and eliminated suffering among the people hence creating

14. Having talents was considered a source of happiness. Such talents like being a medicine man or woman diviners and potters among others served the needs of others in various ways created happiness.   

15. In traditional Africa, happiness was being prosperous but not at the expense of others. The prosperity of an individual was for the benefits of all members in the community.

Revision Questions:

1.      Explain the traditional African understanding of happiness

2.      What was it meant to be happy in African Traditional Society?

3.      Explain the main ideas that brought about happiness in the African past

Occasions of happiness in traditional Africa

They were particular moments when people in African tradition could come together and express the joy. Such moments were characterized by celebrations or feasting. Slaughtering of animals and birds, drinking, singing and dancing formed part of the occasions. These events included the following

1. Childbirth was an important social event that the traditional Africans celebrated together. Goats and chicken were slaughtered to welcome the new member of the family.

2. Initiation ceremonies such as circumcision and puberty rites were also occasions of happiness in traditional Africa. In such ceremonies, the Africans celebrated one's passage from one stage of life to another like a boy becoming an adult man.

3. The traditional Africans celebrated marriage or introduction ceremonies. Animals and birds such as cows, goats and chicken respectively were slaughtered accompanied with drinking beer, singing and dancing. This was done in bidding fare well to the outgoing member of the family and to recognize the newly acquired status of the two partners.

4. The traditional Africans also celebrated the beginning of a good harvest season. They would offer sacrifices as way of appreciating God for the blessings in the form of good harvest. This called for a celebration because it guaranteed security against famine.

5. Victories in wars were celebrated in traditional Africa. Victory in wars meant security against loss of lives, property and foreign domination by other tribes.

6. In some societies, the enthronement of a king was an occasion that brought joy among the traditional Africans. The enthronement was associated with a series of rituals and feastings. This was because it a fulfillment of their cultural set up.

7. House warming was also an occasion of happiness in traditional Africa. This was a day when the traditional Africans could celebrate the entrance into a new house. It was associated with eating, singing and dancing.

8. Official traditional welcome of twins was an occasion of happiness. The coming of twins in some African understanding signified misfortune would happen in the near future. Because of this, they used to sacrifice and feast as way of trying to cleanse or wash away the would be misfortune.

9. Beer parties were also an occasion of happiness in traditional Africa. This was usually organized after a particular task or work had been completed. In such a party, people would eat, drink, sing and dance.

10. Acquiring land was another occasion of happiness in traditional Africa. This was because land was the most valuable resource in the community's life.

11. Successful hunting expedition contributed to happiness among the traditional Africans. This was because they believed that the ancestral spirits blessed the successful hunting.

12. Children naming called for celebration among the traditional Africans. Some names were given basing on the circumstances surrounding the birth. Such names helped the Africans to identify themselves and describe the condition they are living.

13. Some African people were happy on seeing a new moon appearing. For example, among the Khoi-Khoi of South Africa; the appearance of a new moon showed the presence of their God and-therefore they were happy.

Revision Question

1. On what occasion were the people of African Traditional society happy?

2. Explain tile particular moments in African tradition where the people expressed joy.

Causes of unhappiness in traditional Africa

1. Having a bad relationship with the ancestral spirits caused unhappiness. They believed that this could result into curses.

2. Having poor harvests caused unhappiness in traditional Africa. This was because of the expected famine that would befall the population.

3. Lacking material possessions such as land, cattle and goats among others caused unhappiness in traditional Africa. This was a sign of poverty and suffering.

4. Unhappiness in African Traditional society was caused by lack of faithfulness or failure to follow the customs or the traditions. In such a case, other members of the community isolated such individuals.

5. Loosing wars also resulted into unhappiness in traditional Africa. This was because of its consequences such as loss of lives, foreign domination and loss of property.

6. Failure to produce children in a marriage caused unhappiness in traditional Africa. This was because of the belief that the ancestral spirits could have cursed the couple.

7. Failure to get married brought unhappiness to traditional Africans. Single life was never accepted and was considered as going against-the culture-where-marriage was compulsory. The unmarried people were considered social misfits and were always isolated.

8. Both human beings and even animals caused unhappiness in traditional Africa. This was because death was taken to be unusual, a curse and a misfortune.

9. Being sickly caused unhappiness in traditional Africa. Sick people were believed to be on bad terms with the ancestral spirits.

10. Failure to show commitment to one's social roles like being a father, a mother and others caused unhappiness in traditional Africa. This was a disgrace' in the life of the community.     

11. Anti-social behavior such as witchcraft, theft and murder also caused unhappiness in Traditional Africa. This was a sign of one's disloyalty in serving the needs of the community.

Happiness in Church History

1.         Happiness in the early history of the church came from the belief in the gospel Jesus Christ had started. People found joy in being Christians because it was a way of serving others and obtaining salvation.

2.         The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a source of happiness to Christians. The Christians saw this resurrection as their source of strength and their own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15).

3.         Christians also obtained happiness when being persecuted for the sake of the gospel. They felt happy when they suffered because of their religion and some even accepted to be martyred following the example of Jesus. (2 Corinthian 11 :24 - 27, Romans 8:9 - 20).

4.         At a later history, Christians found happiness by believing in renunciation. The monks and the Nuns who lived in North Africa initiated this and argued that true happiness could only be achieved by doing without the pleasures of the world such as eating food, sexual intercourse and others.

5.         Christians found happiness through praying constantly. This was a direct way of communicating with God. In their prayers they thanked and requested God for the provision of their daily needs.

6.         Some Christians achieved happiness by helping the needy such as the poor, widow, disabled and others. They believed that they were doing it for Christ himself who also did the same during his ministry. (Mathew 25:45).

7.         The early Christians found joy through performing miracles. Such miracles like healing the sick, lame and others brought glory to God's name and His kingdom.

8.         Carrying out water baptism brought happiness among the Christians. This signified the growing number of God's children and the good preaching being carried out.

9.         Some Christians, especially the monks and the nuns, found joy in providing educational services. They built schools and health centers to deliver God's people from their various suffering like diseases and illiteracy.

10.    The Monks and the Nuns found joy through engaging in productive work such as agriculture. They cultivated crops and distributed the output to the needy.

11.    Easy spread of the gospel brought joy to Christians. This meant that the kingdom of God was growing and a sign salvation.

12.    The Christians found joy while celebrating important religious days such as the Pentecost, Easter and others. Such days reminded them about particular events in the growth of Christian faith.

13.    Building church structures also brought joy to the Christians. This was because it signified the growing number of God's children.

14.    Fasting made some Christians happy. It was a way through which they could dedicate themselves and meditate on God's provision for them. They denied themselves food, drink and even sexual intercourse for a given period of time.

15.    Some Christians found joy by writing inspiring letters to others. This was a way of sharing their Christian faith. St. Paul wrote so many epistles to various Christian communities like Corinth, Galatia, Rome and others.

 Happiness inspite of suffering

Some Christians in the history of the church remained happy when they were suffering. Such personalities and group of people included;

St. Ignatius of Antioch

( Bishop, Matyr and Church Father)

        He was the Christian slave but he did his slavery work with a lot of joy because he was a believer in Christ.

        He found more joy when he was ordained as a Bishop of Antioch in Syria.

        He remained happy when he was imprisoned for his belief in the gospel of Christ.

        Ignatius was always joyful when writing thanks giving letters to the Christians who were visiting him while he was in prison.

        He was joyful when being murdered by a gang of brutal soldiers for the sake of believing in Christ.

        He used to sing songs of praises while he was in his slavery conditions.

        He continued the preaching of the good news of salvation at the climax of his suffering.

        He endured a lot, of suffering for Christ with a lot of joy. He knew that he would be rewarded in the heavenly kingdom.

        Ignatius was happy when attained freedom from spiritual slavery. (Slavery of sin through repentance)

        He continued praying for the unity of the church while he was in deep suffering.

        He was unfortunately handed over to the wild beasts to eat him as punishment by the church enemies.

Bishop Cyprian

He was a bishop of Carthage in North Africa. He did  experience suffering in his life but found happiness in the following ways.

He was happy when he got converted to Christianity because this was the beginning of understanding the gospel truth that later inspired him to become a bishop.

He was a man filled with happiness on the day of his baptism. The knowledge that he had joined the family of God brought joy to him.

He found joy through repentance which had him right with God.

He preached the good news of salvation to many of his followers with a lot of joy.

Reading the scriptures gave him a lot of joy for it was important in keeping him strong in his faith.

Having numerous and believers made him so happy. He had thought that was something impossible because of his sinful background.

He was happy when he felt that the Holy Spirit had filled him up. This gave him courage to do his work even in times of difficulties.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Augustine praised God at a time he lost his beloved mother. He therefore thanked God for having taken his mothers' life.

He was joyful because of his belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Monks and the Nuns

They enjoyed living in harsh conditions in the desert but continued to be happy because they were living in the life of Christ.

They lived in isolation as they looked for true happiness. This made them to appear to be anti-social.

By renunciation they gave up on all the pleasures of the world including smiling, having sexual intercourse and sometimes doing without food.

They chose to be poor and yet they remained happy in that kind of life.

They enjoyed working on their own despite the difficult agricultural work in their gardens.

They joyfully provided for the needy like widows and orphans even when they were also poor.

Uganda Martyrs

They were happy when they were insulted by the non- believers because of following the gospel of Jesus Christ.

They praised God when they were faced with persecution from their own people.

They accepted to be put to death when happiness and joy because they believed they would come back to life like their savior Jesus Christ.

They lived self-denial life and continued to be happy. They stayed without food and no proper source of water.

They joyfully accepted to be disowned by their own people because of their new faith. They disobeyed the orders of the king because they believed in the good news of salvation.

Even when they were threatened to death, the martyrs continued praising and worshipping God.

Missionaries in Africa

They endured the harsh conditions in Africa but continued to be happy when spreading the good news of salvation

Some of the missionaries died in the process of their work but their colleagues continued doing the work joyfully.

The early Christians continued to be happy despite their being persecuted for believing in Jesus Christ.

They suffered from poverty and continued to be happy because Jesus had lived in the same way.

They moved long distances in their missionary journeys but with a lot of joy.

The Christians continued praising God with goodness even at the time they saw their friends killed.

They were always threatened by the political authority but they continued with their work. They were happy to identify themselves with and helping the needy including the widows and orphans.

Unhappiness in church history

Just like any other normal human beings, Christians experienced sadness in their lives. This was caused by the various sufferings they under went through. This came about as Christians tried to look for true happiness as seen below.      

1.   The suffering and the eventual death of Jesus Christ caused unhappiness among Christians. The Christians lacked knowledge on Jesus' coming and were grieved to see him suffering and dying

2. The persecution of Christians in various communities also brought sadness in their faith. The disciples in particular suffered persecution with some even being killed like Stephan. This caused fear, which resulted into unhappiness.

 3. Spiritual rivalry especially among the apostles brought sorrows in the Christian faith. Some apostles spoke in tongues, while others performed miracles. This caused disunity, which resulted into unhappiness.

4.  The pre-destination doctrine brought by John Calvin of Switzerland caused unhappiness in church history. Calvin argued that God had already determined the destiny of all human beings before birth. He stressed that one could either to go into heaven or hell and that nothing human could be done to change the arrangement. This caused panic among Christians, which resulted into unhappiness.

5. The sale of indulgence that became a business in the church was responsible for man's unhappiness, The church leaders encouraged Christians to give gifts especially money to the church so that their sins were forgiven before being granted salvation, This caused unhappiness to the poor who could not afford pay because they knew that they would go to hell after their death.

6. Unhappiness in church history came as a result of slavery and slave trade. Such victims were over worked and yet less attention was paid to their welfare. This limited their freedom and caused a lot of pain to them that eventually resulted in unhappiness.

7. Christians experienced unhappiness due to poverty. Besides failing to support themselves, the Christians had the duty of providing basic needs to the poor, orphans and the widows with food and shelter. This even made preaching the good news difficult.

8. Christians experienced sadness due to the long unpleasant missionary journey they engaged in. They faced opposition, harsh climate and inadequate facilities. This made life more difficult for the Christians to bear.

9. Oppression of Christian minority also caused sadness. In the Roman Empire more especially during the reign of Emperor Nero, the Christian minorities were blamed for any small mistakes. For example, the Christians were at one time persecuted as having burnt the city yet they were innocent.

10. The missionaries who came to Africa used a threatening method of preaching the good news. This caused discomfort and frightened the Africans because of the preaching that whoever had not heard the gospel would go to hell.

11. The restrictive nature of Christianity was responsible for the unhappiness among Christians. Christianity came to be viewed as a religion full of "don't" that limited the freedom of the people.

12. Unhappiness in church history was caused by the renunciation practiced by the Monks and the Hermits in North Africa. They lived and encouraged their followers to live a self-denial life by doing without the pleasures of the world such as drinking, dancing and sexual intercourse. This was based on the belief that it could give them more time to enjoy friendship with God. This instead caused suffering among the people, which resulted into unhappiness.

13. Christians in church history experienced unhappiness during the inter-denominational conflicts. This was especially between the Catholics and the Protestants. The Catholics labeled the Protestants as rebels and that they would go to hell. This resulted into confrontation with the effects being disastrous.

14. Unhappiness in church history came as a result of the martyrdom of Christians. In Uganda, the burning of the first Christian coverts in 1886 caused fear and panic to other Christians who were still alive. This made them unhappy.

Licensed under the Developing Nations 2.0

A complete talking Book for Uganda certificate of Education