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About Albino’s in Tanzania

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

It’s such a unspeakable situation - impossible to imagine.

For many years, African rituals and misbeliefs have led to attacks, mutilation and brutal murders of innocent men, women and especially children.

In Tanzania, albinos represent one in every 1,429 births - much higher than any other nation. - Police forces have difficulty stopping the practices.

Albinism is a rare genetically inherited condition and affects approximately one in 20,000 people worldwide. Although rare in the western world, albinism is quite common in sub-Saharan Africa, likely caused by consanguineous alliances in villages living in autarky, people marrying persons from the same kinship.

According to Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, an albino lady, Member of Parliament, around 7,000 are officially registered albinos in Tanzania. However, there may approximately 17,000 undocumented cases.

The threat to albinos is indeed massive and can potentially cause extreme trauma and stress in their daily lives, already impacted by the burden of their condition, affecting skin and eyesight. Thus, placing albinos in a constant state of insecurity and distrust.

Spiritual ideas about albinism exist for many generations. But in recent years, witch doctors have taught misconceived facts about the promise of wealth and power when albino hair or limbs are used in a potion as part of witchcraft practices. It is all based on superstition, mainly in specific regions of the Great Lakes in western Tanzania. Here albinism leads to dismembering body parts as a source of magical powers.

Persecution of albinos has been tolerated for years, for reasons of witchcraft but also for instilled reasons that they are presumed to be cursed and bring bad luck.

An albino child is often seen as a bad omen and treated as unwanted. Many albino babies become victims of infanticide due to these superstitious views.

Learn more about albinos or contribute - the following organizations are very active in combatting the persecution of albinos:

  • Under The Same Sun

  • The Tanzania Albino Society

  • Tanzania Albino Centre (TAC)

  • The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC)

  • Asante Mariamu

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