When human rights and cultural superstitions clash, how do you intervene?
Malawi’s albino population has been under siege for centuries, although it’s only in relatively recent times that the government has intervened.
In the East African nation, like in several of its neighbouring countries Tanzania, being born with albinism is akin to a death sentence. For years, many cultures around Africa’s Great Lakes region have practised the persecution of people with albinism for largely superstitious regions.
Traditional healers have long propagated the myths that the body parts from a person with albinism are said to have different healing and other magical powers. As such, people with albinism in countries such as Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya have been hunted like commodities over the centuries.
In 2020, however, the governments are trying to take a stand and protect the lives of innocent East Africans. Malawi’s government intervention made headlines this week after appearing in TRT World – an international documentary platform.
While there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to shifting beliefs and perceptions, the police went on record an explained that although they have improved their response times, it is still tougher to provide the same level of security in more remote areas of Malawi.
The subject in TRT World’s expose hails from a small village in East Malawi and explains how she lives in constant fear at the prospect of being abducted and used for medical and spiritual rituals.
Watch the full expose below:
How can communities in Africa beyond the government work together to try and end the myths and stigma against albinism?