"I'm stigmatized because I'm albino"

"I'm stigmatized because I'm albino"

-Albino's have been brutally murdered as their body parts are believed to have magical powers

-In 2016 the rate of murders of albino's, were at a high, when a man took his girlfriends life to sell her body parts for muti that he believed would make him rich

- The albino community live in fear and plea for people to stop murdering them for their skin

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Being a person who is albino, is extremely challenging. Not do you only have to face the racial confusion, stigma and bullying, but the fact that your body parts are of high value for harvesting for traditional healing and magic.

The death of Thandazile Mpunzi, a 20 year old albino girl, in 2016, swamped news headlines. Her boyfriend had killed her to sell her body parts for muti that he believed would make him rich.

Thandazile is one of many that made headlines that year and times before. But murder is not the only problem, it is what happens before.

Annah, a 25 year old lady from Limpopo, came forward to talk about her skin condition, in a report by ECR.

“Growing up albino was very difficult. For my primary schooling, I was taken to a special school for people with disabilities. This wasn’t because I couldn’t do well in school, but merely because I was albino. But being in such a school wasn’t too bad. It was exciting because I also found other people like me. “

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Annah lost her mother when she was just 11 years old. She was forced to go stay with her gran and had to leave the special school, to go to a Christian school.

“My first day at high school was the worst day of my life. I sat in the first row and I remember a group of crazy boys calling me all sorts of names and making fun of me because of my condition. The class was so big. Whenever they called me names it would pierce my heart. What broke my heart worse was that one of the people who was making fun of me was my very own neighbor, who I had thought, because he knew me, would be accommodative.”

Briefly.co.za learnt that the experience had taught her love.

“I just told myself one day they will grow up. I learned not to take it personally.”

“People in school used to think even my brain can’t work, but I’d prove them wrong by my marks. I would raise my hand in class to show that I am not dumb. I’d always go an extra mile and I made sure that I got good grades. I’d do so well that people started wanting to be my friend just so that I could help them with school work. The best day of my life was 7 April 2017, my graduation day. The day I held my degree in Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies.”

Annah said that going to University was not an awful experience either as there was a wide variety of diversity among students. However, she did find dating to be challenging as she did not have a very high self-esteem.

“I was very shy. It took time to build my self-esteem. I didn’t ever expect anyone to tell me ‘I love you’. Having my first boyfriend, I felt honored that out of all the people he chose me. It got to a point where I began to love myself. I made sure that I don’t associate myself with the stigma and my relationships got better. I knew my worth. That guy boosted my confidence.”

She admitted that despite her positive experiences, she still lives in fear of being murdered for her skin.

“We (albino community) wish people could stop killing us. I am living in fear. Imagine if I were to visit KZN where Thandazile was murdered. I won’t be free. I don’t know if I will be the next victim or not. We don’t want to live in fear in the world that was created for everyone.”

“I wish people could understand that there’s nothing wrong with us. We are all the same. The difference is the skin color. They should treat us as people, not how we look. People must get to know us and not just judge us based on our skin condition."

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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