Over six months I have made this blog a positive journal of our life and experiences here in Tanzania. This post is not one of them.
Tanzania is a lovely country in lots of ways, and the people are mainly friendly and good natured in my experience, but beneath the surface there is a darker side to a very small minority; real evil. It’s centre is this region of Tanzania where people are being murdered and dismembered because of the colour of their skin.
Their skin is white, but they are not Caucasian.
They are African but different to most Africans.
They suffer from Albinism, a genetic difference which means that a person has no skin pigmentation or hair colour. It is a rare condition in Europe and North America, where 1 in 20000 people possess a degree of albinism. However in East Africa it is much more common with 1 in 1400 people are estimated to have the condition. For obvious reasons, it is more noticeable here in Africa. (Statistics taken from http://www.underthesamesun.com, a charity working for people with Albinism in Tanzania).
In Tanzania, powerful myths and the presence of witch doctors has fostered a belief that the body parts and blood of those with albinism have magical powers which when used in potions can bring riches. This has led to the abduction of people , often children with albinism who are then murdered and dismembered, the body parts transported within East Africa. In some cases intruders break into homes and hack of the limbs of those with albinism, as recounted by friends and fellow bloggers the Mongers.
A recent story is of a 30-year-old Tanzanian woman hacked with machetes as they stole her baby (with albinism). She was taken to the local hospital where she recovers, her baby’s dismembered body was later discovered in a nearby forest – full story here. One fear is that in Election year some will want to gain an advantage and believe that one way to gain it is through these ritual sacrifices.
The Tanzanian Government under pressure has recently banned witch doctors, but this only part of the solution. There is a petition urging the Government here to take further steps to stop ritual killings of people with albinism. Do consider signing it.
The Mongers (local NGO’s) have written more extensively on the subject should you wish to know more.