Growing up with Albinism was not easy: Sethibe

Reading Time: 2 minutes

People with albinism are just as capable as everyone. That’s according to 29-year-old Lerato Sethibe who has Albinism. Sethibe who is from Maokeng, Kroonstad in the Free State, is a model and an up-and-coming actress.

She was speaking against the backdrop of International Albinism Awareness Day. Her life is a reflection of this year’s theme titled “Made to Shine”.

Lerato Sethibe was once a shy young girl and now has blossomed into a confident young woman. Stereotyping has not deterred her from following her dream and passion. Sethibe says growing up with Albinism was not easy.

“The way you walk, the way you present yourself, is like you are a queen. When you’re walking there on the stage. It gives you the confidence to be who you are. To love yourself even more. So basically one of the reasons why I’m doing modelling is to inspire young women especially those living with Albinism or disability to be not afraid and pursue their passion,” says Sethibe.

Despite discrimination, Sethibe says society is starting to be more receptive to albinos.

“I think now people are becoming more aware of people living with albinism and disability are coming out on public taking them into consideration. So I believe they are becoming more aware of us now. You know it’s people like us who make the public see us. You have to out there and introduce ourselves,” says Sethibe.

Sethibe says education will help dispel some of the myths about people with Albinism.

“People have certain myths about people living with albinism you know they think we are cursed. They think albinism is contagious which is not. I mean it’s just genetic that is passed on by parents. So we are like any human. So people will treat us as I don’t know we are from another planet. Not realizing the difference is the skin colour. Is just a lack of melanin. We are the same people yes,” says Sethibe.

Sethibe won the Miss Albinism beauty pageant in 2018. Her latest venture is in a television series that she will start shooting next week.  With each day she gets closer and closer to making her dream of being famous come true.

Dr Maxwell Thabetha – the chairperson of the National Albinism Task Force on the misinformation against those who have albinism: