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Living with albinism

Living with Albinism in South Africa

South Africa is a diverse nation that has a long and painful history of discrimination and oppression. It is a sad reality that despite the collective struggle against injustice, people living with Albinism in the country are still being subjected to similar forms of discrimination and violence. These individuals are being targeted and stigmatized due to misinformation and false education spread by Traditional healers in the country.

Tragically, many are trafficked and killed for their body parts even their graves are being tampered with, their body parts are falsely believed to possess magical powers in traditional medicine. The most vulnerable members of this community are women and children, who face the constant threat of sexual violence and mutilation for Muthi purposes. It is heartbreaking to witness the continuation of such atrocities against a group of people who deserve to live their lives free from fear and prejudice.

Fasle Information About People With Albinism

In a disturbing incident, a traditional healer named Dr. Khekhelezi posted false information on YouTube about people with Albinism. Unfortunately, his misinformation had devastating consequences. A man in Gauteng watched the video and believed the false claims, leading him to rape an 8-year-old girl with Albinism. This heartbreaking incident highlights the dangers of spreading false information, particularly when it comes to vulnerable communities. We all must take responsibility for verifying information before sharing it and work together to combat harmful myths and stereotypes.

People living with Albinism experience a lot of challenges such as visual impairment and sensitive skin. It is totally unfair that they should feel segregated, and be subjected to discrimination, abuse, and judgment from their people. This comes in various forms, such as being excluded from social activities, being ridiculed for their appearance, and being denied equal opportunities in education, employment, and healthcare. Such mistreatment has a profound impact on their mental and emotional well-being, making it even more important to raise awareness about the unique struggles faced by people living with Albinism.

The Albinism Society of South Africa (ASSA)

Commissioner NomaSonto Mazibuko established the Albinism Society of South Africa (ASSA) with the aim of helping people with albinism to develop self-confidence and offering hope to parents of children with albinism by assuring them that it is a manageable condition. ASSA provides educational programs to help people with albinism acquire skills for maintaining adequate health, such as learning about the types of clothing to protect their skin, as well as the use of optical aids and sunscreens.

“We as people living with Albinism in South Africa are often faced with discrimination, we are subjected to receiving vulgar language and utterances against us due to our genetic condition. We are often referred to as Albinos, izinkawu, and other nasty words daily because we are different. In the past people would disappear without a trace, today we are hunted, and our bodies mutilated because of various beliefs. There was always a belief that we do not die but disappear, however today we know that there are people who hunt and kill people with Albinism. Throughout the African continent, we are aware of this kind of behavior” said Commissioner NomaSonto.

What Is The Condition?

Albinism is a condition that affects people of all races, caused by mutations in certain genes that affect the amount of melanin produced by the body. Due to the genetic limitations of the eyes, skin, and hair, it is considered a disability. June 13 is recognized as International Albinism Awareness Day worldwide, while South Africa observes September as Albinism Awareness Month.

People living with Albinism in South Africa face imminent danger of being kidnapped, raped, and mutilated because of the stigmatization and false beliefs of the society they live in. “The South African Police Services should prioritize mission person reports especially of those living with Albinism because the chances of them being found alive are slim,” says Commissioner NomaSonto.

The government of South Africa must ensure that Albinism is treated as any other disability in the country. It should be accurately listed and documented in all official documents so that the limitations caused by the condition are recognized and given special attention. Children who are born with Albinism must have access to optical and special skin care. Furthermore, a special facility that caters to people with Albinism should be available so that even those who are less fortunate are not left vulnerable. They should be accommodated, not excluded because of their Albinism condition.

“We have done extensive research with the South African Department of Health in genetics to understand the condition. We continue to work with the Department of Social Development to ensure that we assist people with Albinism to access ‘Dignity Packs’ These packs include sunscreen for those of many who cannot afford it. We try our best to ensure the safety of our community”

Showing Love For The Albinism Community

As an individual living with Albinism, it is important to recognize and accept your limitations in order to seek the appropriate assistance you need. Although you may not always want to be treated differently, it is important to be included and considered due to the limitations caused by your condition. South African communities and Africans as a whole need to educate themselves about the Albinism condition, protect, and show more love for the Albinism community. Regardless of the color of one’s hair, eyes, or skin, we are all one people and should be treated with respect, recognition, and love. The stigmatization and segregation experienced by the Albinism community have gone on for far too long and it is time for a change.

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Tholakele Mbonani

Tholakele Mbonani

I'm Tholakele Mbonani from South Africa, I am a journalist with a passion uplifting stories about hope and change.


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