Albinism under the spotlight

Sanelisiwe Mabena says living with albinism does not hinder her from pursuing her dreams.

KwaThema – Kasi Organisation celebrated International Albinism Day, June 13, by hosting an event to raise awareness about the plight of people living with albinism around the world.

Seventy-six-year-old Freddy Masilela recounts the challenges he and his brother, who also lives with albinism, faced while growing up kasi.

“We were not as fortunate as people with albinism are today.

“Although people are still ignorant about our condition, most have an idea what it is and you are not frowned upon as much.”

Masilela says the discrimination, which sometimes led to his life being threatened, made him more resilient.

“I know there are jobs I did not get because people did not expect to see someone like me walk through the door for the interview.”

He believes respect from the community will come when people who live with albinism accept and love themselves first.

Organiser of the event Mandla Gininda says although much has been done to secure the rights of people living with albinism, barriers still exist.

“The purpose of this gathering was to shine the spotlight on the dehumanisation of people with albinism, not only in South Africa but across the world.

“It is sad to learn that in some parts of the world people living with albinism are hunted.

“Often, a child has to be guarded from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed because his parents fear he may be killed for rituals and muthi,” adds Thokozani Sibiya.

Sibiya says he is committed to teaching as many people about albinism as possible.

“People need to know what albinism is, what causes it and especially what it is not,” says Captain Thabo Sibuyi, of the SAPS.

Zwelibanzi Ngwenya, councillor for ward 79, expressed his disappointment in the attendance at the event.

“Many more people needed to be here and to get this message.

I hope we will have better planning and a better turn-out next time.”

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