The hunt for Albinos is still on

© Alida Vanni. A school in Tanzania.

The case of 18-year-old Moszy, who landed on a Spanish beach along with several other refugees from Africa, has raised awareness of the plight of albinos in many African countries, where witchdoctors claim albino body parts can bring wealth and good luck.

Albinism is an inherited genetic condition characterised by the absence of melanin in skin, eyes and hair and can affect all races. African albinos, easily spotted by their white skin and fair hair, have long been ostracised and discriminated against. The target of superstitions and sorcery, they are hunted down for their body parts, some of which are thought to confer magical powers.

‘There is an old belief, that when the volcano erupts, only albino blood can placate the god of the mountain’

Stefan arrived in Italy two years ago after fleeing his native Cameroon. A trained journalist, he was granted asylum on humanitarian grounds and now lives in Turin.

I left my country to escape the widespread prejudice targeting albinos such as me. People are starting to talk more and more about the plight of albinos in Tanzania, but things are much the same in Cameroon. Different parts of our bodies are sought for their supposed miraculous powers: to become rich, win elections or concoct love potions.

In south-west Cameroon, where I studied, there is an old belief that when the local volcano erupts, only albino blood can placate the god of the mountain. When I was fifteen, we found the body of my elder brother, also an albino, with his heart and testicles removed. I was forced into hiding several times.

It was very hard for me to cope with other people’s scorn. My parents insisted I get a proper education, but there is no special treatment for albinos with poor eyesight. Still, I managed to complete university degrees in journalism and English literature.

There is a lot to be done in countries such as Cameroon to ensure albinos have access to healthcare and education. But we must do our bit to educate other people and raise awareness of such major dangers as skin cancer. We must persuade other people and the government to make it possible for albinos to play their part in society.”

‘Mothers often refuse to breastfeed albino babies’

Chiara Gregoracci is the founder of the Association of Handicapped Albino Youths of Cameroon and Africa (AJAHCA). An orphaned child, she was picked up by albino foster parents.

People here in Cameroon know little or nothing about albinos. There is a lot of ignorance and superstition. They are treated as outcasts, and parents don’t send them to school. Mothers often refuse to breastfeed Albino babies; and having albino children can sometimes lead to parents divorcing. So far we’ve been trying to find foster families for albino orphans, but we’ve already bought a plot of land to build a couple of houses, where the children can be looked after properly. Our aim is to ensure they can feel autonomous and build up their confidence. In time, we hope to convince the government to back our cause.”

 

 

Daniel (left) and George (right) were both abandoned by their parents before the AJAHCA helped them find foster families.

‘We are human beings just like everyone else, only we need more care’

Mzawa Iddi Jagame is a member of the Tanzania Albino Society. Her account and the accompanying pictures were put together by Matteo Tortone and Alessandro Baltera of Olmo Produzioni.

It is very difficult in Tanzania, as in all sub-Saharan countries, to assert our equal dignity. We are human beings just like everyone else, only we need more care. For instance, we need to make sure our skin gets adequate protection from the equatorial sun, and in classrooms we need to have a place in the front row, or else we cannot see the blackboard. The Tanzania Albino Society was founded in 1979 and was recognised by the state in 1982. Three years ago we obtained a national day for albinos. It’s on April 26, and this year it will be celebrated in Mwanza, the capital of the province worst affected by massacres of albinos.”

 

 

©Alida Vanni. Tanzania Albino Society. The pictures were put together by Matteo Tortona and Alessandro Baltera of Olmo Produzioni.

Comments

awful

this is awful shouldnt be going on in the world!!!!!

jen xx

albinos

We can only all come together when there is a common enemy to ostracize. There is no better group than albinos for this! Down with the Albino menace. Hail the Volcano God!

it's all about economics.

Of course they use the blood of white people to appease the Volcano God!!

You have to sacrifice something worth something... otherwise it isnt really a sacrifice, its just like taking out the trash.

Even the unwashed savages know the blood of black person is worthless

Leave these people alone, they understand the obvious. Unlike most of America.

Nobody is writing articles about how women are treated over there.

kkk in action

Anyone who read your post knows what class of breed you belong. You are really displaying your true lowselfesteen. Your are irrational in your thinking.

To appease your self esteen, the best thing you have left is not to think and reason but to go farther low. Too bad!

African

albinoism?

albinoism? This has got to be a joke selling albino body parts in belief the gods will grant them some special shit? Are there really cultures out there that are still as retarded as the greeks back in the mythology days?

Yes there are many cultures

Yes there are many cultures that "are still retarded as the greeeks back in the mythology days". For many examples, please refer to any civilation that believes in god. The belief that albino body parts will grant special power is no more outlandish than the belief that jesus was killed for our sins, that he rose from the dead, that there is an evil mastermind diametrically opposed to the god that is celebreated.

Unfortunately, the world is rife with superstitious nonsense.

People are willing to pay

People are willing to pay for albino body parts....and there are albino orphans looking for a home....I think I have just come up with a really good business strategy for this recession...

I can't believe these

I can't believe these African tribal savages! Are these people for real? If they're really stupid enough to think that eating albino people will help, are they really contributing to society? I say we gather up those bush whacking savages and put them to work in the sugar cane fields or use them for medical testing.

Albino people are ugly as sin but that being ugly does NOT mean you do not have a right to live.

you are really a WHITE SUPREMACY

White supremacism in full action here. I bet millions of Africans were used for medical testing during the colonial occupation by Europeans. You have stated the obvious. There are alot of suspessions about that. HIV is the perfect example.

God willing ,the true will come out someday. I hope white people are ready for the confrontation because hundred of millions had died for theses evills.

Keep speaking the true! One way we will find these out is when we begin to let white supremacists speak the true.

That day is coming.

People are willing to pay for albino parts

to even joke about cashing in on this blatant violation of human rights,discrimination,ignorance of man -failing to comprehend science and flail still in superstition is in incredibly atrocious,sadly ignorant and yes-even prejudiced.
It is sad that our society finds any humour in the tragic discrimination of any living being and beyound tragic when societies ignorance and non-intervention causes the death of innocent people.
There just is nothing humorous about any person born "albino" to have to spend their life in rejection,fear, and being outcast and to top it off..they must worry about the real possibility and probability that they will become the one to be thrown into a volcano or dissected for their parts as others superstious ways are placated.
NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT ANY OF IT!
When we make jokes about these situations we must come to realize that we actually perpetuate the discrimination, prejudices and ironically validate those who hold onto these. The same is true when we make fun of race, nationality,religions.... Let us not encourage such behavior--within our claims to be intelligent and civilized we must demonstrate this to be true by not making jokes about serious situations or encourage others to laugh at these jokes.
Are you brave enough to stand up to this or will you continue to fall and flail within the realm of ignorance yourself?

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