31 March 2014

The albinos of Tanzania are a "tribe of ghosts"

"Tribe of Ghosts" refers to Tanzanians unfortunate enough to be afflicted with albinism in a society rife with ignorance and prejudice.  Photojournalist Jacquelyn Martin documented their plight; some of her images were featured at the Mail Online:
The Kabanaga Protectorate Centre in the town of Kabanaga in the north-west of the East African country, close to the Burundi border, caters to the nation's albinos, who are known as the 'tribe of ghosts', 'zeros' or 'the invisibles'. They have suffered appalling treatment at the hands of their own neighbours and are murdered for their body parts, which are believed to bring good fortune and cure all manner of ills...

Sometimes the parents are afraid of their children, sometimes they are forced to give up their beloved offspring because they fear the prejudices of the people in their own community...

In February attackers collecting body parts of albinos for witchcraft hacked off the hand of a seven-year-old boy, officials said. The boy, called Mwigulu Magessa, was ambushed by the men as he walked home with his friends in Tanzania. He survived but many such victims of ignorance are not so lucky. Just days earlier an albino mother of four had her arm chopped off by machete-wielding men and a month before that an albino child died in Tanzania's Tabora region after attackers hacked off his arm.'.. 
This photo shows one of the albinos in a shop in the village:

'There's a market close to the centre and the women went together in a group as a safety measure because it's harder to kidnap someone in a group,' says Jacquelyn. 'Angel was in a shop and the woman behind the counter couldn't look her in the eyes. 'She just took her money. That was something that struck me.' 
Jacquelyn Martin's website is here, and the Tribe of Ghosts photoset is here.
To help individuals living at the Center please contact Asante Mariamu, a non-profit that takes an individual approach to education on the issues facing people with albinism.

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