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I was thinking of what to blog about, I wanted to talk about something we would not ordinarily talk about, a topic that doesn’t pop up in our everyday conversation except we are confronted with it. I finally settled on albinism for the funny reason of A for April, A for albinism. It was a perfect way to make it more fun. We see albinos around us, sometimes we don’t care, other times we look at them with curiosity. Before I delve into the reality of albinism, I featured two albino models based on my A for April, A for Albinism. Read about Shaun Ross and Thando Hopa
Albinism is when there is little or no pigmentation of the hair skin and eyes due to the absence or defect of tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is a copper-containing enzyme involved with the production of melanin. Albinism is not a disease, it is an inherited recessive gene. Albinos suffer a great deal because their skin is super sensitive to the sun, the quality of their vision is reduced. But this suffering is nothing compared to the discrimination, prejudice, segregation, victimization they have to go through every day especially those in East African countries.
In Tanzania and Burundi, albinos are hunted and killed for their body parts which are believed to have magical properties that bring good luck and riches. In Zimbabwe, because of the belief that sleeping with an albino woman cures HIV, it has led to rape and violation of albino women. Due to the lack of melanin, albinos are prone to skin cancer. They also have difficulty reading, some have to buy books with bigger fonts like Thando Hopa or get recommended glasses. Their eyes move due to a condition known as nystagmus and they cannot tell when it’s moving.
Albinos are found in all races of the world. Famous people with albino include Shaun Ross, Refilwe Modiselle, Thando Hopa, Connie Chiu, Diandra Forrest, Salif Keita, Johnny Winter. Albinos are people like us, we all bleed red, melanin or no melanin. What we need to do is understand them and accept them not ostracized them.
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