Assaulted and Maimed for the Colour of Their Skin
This film, directed by Aleksandr Avilov, tells the story of those who have the misfortune of being born albino in Tanzania, Africa. These men and women are mistreated, rejected, even assaulted because their skin has a different color. Mothers are encouraged to poison their babies born with albinism and the general population shuns them. All of this has produced a high rate of poverty among people with albinism, to the point where many of them are not able to get an education or jobs and end up begging on the sides of the roads.
At the turn on the 21st century there was a wave of albino murder and maiming. Local witch doctors were sending out their clients to get specific albino body parts. Many people started hunting albinos as a way to escape poverty, because their bones were in high demand. One woman witnessed her husband being chopped into pieces right before her and their five children. Another man was knocked out and his hand was cut off. Then there’s the young girl whose entire arm was chopped off right in front of her family. Like these, there are thousands of stories of abuse and murder just because of a lack of melanin.
Tanzania, a country on the East coast of the African continent has a high incidence of people born without melanin that is eight times higher than the rest of the world. There is no scientific explanation for this anomaly to date, either and the locals rarely talk about it. Instead many parents send their albino children off to a boarding school and never even come back to visit. The boarding school is sort of a camp and it’s the only place in the region where the albino boys and girls feel safe.
As is expected, albinos are the subjects of a wide range of superstitions, including that they bring bad luck and that they are immortal. It is also widely believed that their bones can cure diseases or can be used as charms to bring wealth. In Swahili, albinos are called “zeru zeru” which means “ghosts”. These beliefs are what cause people born with melanin abnormalities to be in constant fear.
This film follows Josephat Torner, who is now an activist for the Tanzania Albinism Society. He has overcome his fears and has dedicated his life to campaigning and educating others about albinism. His dream is to one day eliminate all discrimination and violence against albinos so that they will no longer become refugees in their own country. Watch this film now.