13 June 2015 International Albinism Awareness Day


I feel sick at reading of the atrocities committed against persons with an absence of melanin (known as oculocutaneous albinism), in Tanzania and more than twenty other African countries. Harassment also occasionally occurs in China and India, although to a far lesser extent. All this is endured, on account of a slip in genetic makeup that is beyond any sufferer’s ability to counter.

Born in South Africa, I am white; but by definition of birth I am an African. As such, I utterly condemn the satanic brutality sometimes meted out to people already struggling with weakened eyesight and susceptible to skin cancer. Often highly intelligent, normal and complete in every other way, they are deserving of respect by all. It is incumbent on every government to support them, and to ensure protection within law.

Within South Africa, millions live with the concept of ‘ubuntu’ ever before them. This implies honouring the dignity and humanity of other human beings, with a view to letting the concept guide behaviour and attitudes.

My wish for people with albinism is that genetic scientists will find a solution to their affliction, and soon. And may they bask in ubuntu and respect, rather than be the objects of disdain.

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