• Adeela Ejaz

Albinism | Power | University Coursework


Christian Eri (left), Yemi Dada (middle) and Josephat Torner (right)


Albinism. A genetically inherited rare condition with lack of pigmentation that effects mainly colours of skin, hair and eyes(1.Josephat Torner Foundation Europe). It’s a life or death matter in some countries. Why? Well, there's a lot of superstitions and false rumours surrounding people with Albinism (PWA) due to a lack of understanding. Things as ridiculous as; PWA are walking ghosts (2), burying their limbs/bodies inside your home will bring you good fortune(2), having sex with PWA will cure HIV(2), Albinism is a punishment or curse from the gods or ancestral spirit due to wrongs done in the family(3), drinking their blood gives extra magical powers, or PWA just vanish. This isn’t true: they are secretly buried when they die to prevent a mob from stealing their body parts. Can you see how ridiculous these rumours are?


One man, had the choice to either stay silent or take a stand and make a difference to the way his society see PWA. Josephat Torner, a Tanzanian man, uses his voice as his weapon to bring change to the way albinos are treated. He does this by educating people with actual facts about the genetic condition. In doing so, he bridges the gap between different groups of society to bring about change. He speaks with local police, traditional healers (who fuel this issue as they use various body parts of PWA in potions to ‘cure’ people of their problems. Josephat puts himself in danger in order to change the views towards albinos in society. Children are left in centres by families as they believe they are cursed; some mothers go with their child(ren) because they are aware of the dangers they face in their communities. Some children will never see their families again. This has formed an exclusion within society as others don’t know of their existence nor are they surrounded by them which I believe is counter-productive in bringing change. These centres are made to protect them, but really, the government of Tanzania and other governments around the continent and globally, should be doing more to help their people. Josephat took things into his own hands and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise awareness on this issue. He has his own foundation called Josephat Torner Foundation Europe (JTFE) which is also based in London, United Kingdom and Gemert, Netherlands(4). This has helped raise funding worldwide to promote the rights of people with albinism (4). The vision of the JTFE is to ‘create a safe and equal world wherein all the people with albinism will be able to enjoy their lives as full citizens of the society(4).


Josephat used his own voice as a power tool to bring awareness to people here, in London of how PWA are treated in his country. By us being aware of this issue, we can help him with his wish and there are many ways to do this. Please visit his website for more details.


Bibliography:


Josephat Torner Foundation Europe, (n.d.) What is Albinism, Available from: www.jtfe.org [Access date: Friday, 3 November 2017]

Talk at University by Josephat Torner - presentation

Citizen, (4.3.1015), 10 Albinism Myths Busted, Available from: www.citizen.co.za [Access date: Friday, 3 November 2017]

Josephat Torner Foundation Europe, (n.d.), About Us, Available from: www.jtfe.org [Access date: Friday, 3 November 2017]

#albinism #albino #university #josephattorner #jtfe

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