The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

The Abolishment of Tanzania’s Albinos

Posted by 19sevenseven on October 14, 2008

Since March 2008 over 25 Albino people have been murdered in Tanzania according to a recent BBC survey.

Albinos are targeted for body parts that are used in witchcraft, and killings continue despite government efforts to stamp out the witch hunt that is going on in Tanzania.

The Occult

Sorcery, witchcraft, and the occult have a firm grip on the people in this corner of Africa, especially in the rural areas. There is also very little public awareness around the issue of Albinism.

Tanzania’s albinos are not just hiding from the sun, but from their fellow countrymen. There seems to be a strong belief within the general population that Albinos organs, blood, hair and hands, when mixed into a potion can make a person rich.  Albinos in Tanzania are also subjected to widespread social discrimination which are fuelled by powerful myths such as: Albinos are evil or a curse from God and will bring bad luck on a household, that Albinos never die – they just vanish, Albinos are the offspring of a relationship between a white man and a black woman, and that Albinism is a contagious disease. 

Babies Being Murdered

According to the BBC, there have been reports of babies being murdered and people having their limbs hacked off in the light of day as they go about their business.

Albinism affects one in 20,000 people worldwide, but the number of Albinos in Tanzania is much higher than the reset of the world.  Underthesamesun.com states that in Europe it is estimated that 1 in 20,000 have some form of albinism, yet in Tanzania it is 5 times as common, with 1 in 4,000 being affected.

According to the Albino Association there are  more than 4,000 albinos registered with them. Although the Association has speculation that there could be as many as 173,000 Albinos living in Tanzania today.

Albino MP

All is not lost for Tanzania’s Albinos.  In April of this year, Al-Shymaa-Kway-Geer was nominated by the President of the country as an MP. With the goal of bring attention to the issues surrounding Albinos is this discriminatory country. The strange thing about the killings in Tanzania are how they appear to be a Tanzanian issue, as there have been no reports of the same sort of behaviour from neighbouring countries. This is an issue that not only questions Tanzania’s societal norms but its government’s inability to hammer out the persecution of select members of its society.

One thing that Albinos do have working for them, is Al-Shymaa-Kway-Geer and more and more widespread out cry on this shocking issue.

If you are interested in further information about the genetic condition of Albinos, please click here. (Background Article)

By Quinn Gormley

quinngormley@yahoo.co.uk

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