Some people with albinism in KwaZulu-Natal say more still needs to be done to create awareness about the condition in South Africa. This as the world celebrates International Albinism Awareness Day.
People with albinism say they still face many forms of discrimination, especially in townships and rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, persons with albinism have been targeted for ritual murders due to the myth that their body parts bring good luck and wealth when used in witchcraft practices.
The Duma family in Kokstad is living in fear after their son, Esethu Duma, who had albinism, was killed because of such myths in 2017. According to the family, Esethu was found buried in a shallow grave in Bizane in the Eastern Cape, with some of his body parts missing. They fear that their only living son Abulela, who also has albinism, will be next.
Abulela Duma says he’s afraid to leave his house alone because of his condition.
“When my brother was found with his body parts missing things were never the same for our family. There were a lot of cars with registrations from eSwatini and other provinces lurking around our house just before his disappearance, now these unfamiliar cars are lurking around our house again. Every time I go out my mom keeps checking up on me because she is scared. I don’t feel safe walking alone on the streets. When I go out I need someone to accompany me so I can feel protected. I live in fear even now.”
Nompilo Dladla, who has albinism, says people lack understanding about the condition, which leads to cases where they’re kidnapped and murdered.
“As Unathi development foundation, we acknowledge the day, however, we think action that needs to be taken. Government at large hasn’t been doing much to raise awareness and to educate people about the condition of albinism. We are a person with albinism and we are not living with albinism and also to explain to different people how the condition comes about. So the aim of the documentary is to educate and also raise awareness,” says Dladla.
Dladla has produced a documentary to educate people about the condition. She says government should put more effort in raising awareness about albinism in SA.
Meanwhile, people with albinism in Pampierstad in the Northern Cape are calling for an end to discrimination against them.
A group of parents have since formed an organisation aimed at supporting those with albinism and to create awareness about the genetic skin condition. This year the International Albinism Awareness Day is observed under the theme; ‘Strength beyond all odds.’
Tshegofatso Keitsemore who has a child with albinism, says the attacks against people with albinism need to stop.
“Let us accept persons with albinism. They are just a person like you are. It is the way God created them. There are very few of them but I think now we have more information and knowledge.”
NGO houses 11 children with albinism in Pampierstad: