A seminar hosted by the British Tanzania Society and facilitated by Standing Voice as part of the SOAS African Studies Centre programme.
Albinism—a genetic condition reducing or eliminating melanin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair—is poorly understood across much of Tanzanian society. Dehumanising myths and superstitions surround the condition, with misconceptions breaking up families and leading to mockery, abandonment and violence. Seen as ghosts or ‘zeru zeru’ (‘sub-human’ in Swahili), people with albinism are often construed as curses on their families and communities and are segregated as a result. Some are even targeted for their body parts, used in witchcraft charms thought to bring wealth and fortune. Since 2006, 76 have been murdered and 69 more attacked.
As a result of the discrimination and ostracism faced by people with albinism vital services are not built to meet their needs. Marginalisation impedes access to education and health services, restricts the delivery of health education, and isolates individuals with albinism from their families, communities and caregivers.
This engaging and interactive seminar will be delivered by Jamie Walling of Standing Voice, an NGO that promotes the social inclusion of people with albinism across Tanzania and wider Sub-Saharan Africa.