Occasionally I see her there. A white girl — very white — begging at the traffic light between Julius Nyerere Avenue and July 24 Avenue. And whenever I do I am filled with a feeling of helplessness. The sun, the great villain, burns and stains the child’s skin. But the greatest villain of all is prejudice. One of the themes that I never thought before to write about draws our attention every day here in Maputo: the albinism.
I have seen many albinos here in Mozambique, but unfortunately none are in a privileged position in society, always in menial jobs, when they can find a job. Thinking about this issue, we now know a little of the wonderful work of photographers Solange Santos from Mozambique and Dominique Andereggen from Switzerland and Adods, “Association Defending our Rights”, a Mozambican non-profit organization that aims to protect the rights of people with albinism. The photographers lived in Tanzania where they witnessed so many cruelties against albinos that when they came to live in Mozambique they felt compelled to share their experiences with people here. Thus, in partnership with Adods, was born the book and photo exhibition “Children of the Moon” (how some refer to people with albinism) about Mozambican albinos. Here you can watch the testimony of those who have attended the exhibition.
Supporters of Adods can make a monthly financial donation and become a “godparent” of a person with albinism here in Mozambique. “Godfather” and “godchild” meet, and the sponsor can monitor the education and medical care of his or her godchild. I didn’t know a movement like that existed here in Maputo. I was very happy to learn that it does!
Here are excerpts from the book and some photos of the exhibition “Children of the Moon”:
“It all began in East Africa few years back, when we lived in Tanzania, arguably the worst place in the world to be born with albinism. The country has one of the largest populations of albinos in the world and they are being targeted for their white skin. It is a place where being albino is almost a death sentence. The news of the macabre killings, mutilations and the plight of these beautiful people left a very strong impression on us“.
“It’s a curse to be born with albinism in Equatorial Africa. They are under threat from skin cancer and there for rarely live beyond the age of 40. Furthermore, persecution of people with albinism is based on the belief that their body parts transmit magical powers. This superstition is present in some parts os Africa. People are ostracized because of their skin tone. They are faced with discrimination, hunted down like animals and brutally attacked for the limbs (arms, legs, genital organs), to be sold in the black market for witchdoctor rituals“.
Can you imagine that? In a world of iPad’s, revolutionary cosmetics, etc., many human beings still cannot do the most simpe of things – get along with others.
Touching, huh? The exhibit has ended, but Adods stills need help and volunteers. They are located on Salvador Alende Avenue, 560 – Maputo/Mozambique (+258 827235990/845301852), firstname.lastname@example.org