Namibia is not often in the news when speaking about ritual murders, attacks on people with albinisme, witchcraft or related ritualistic activities. Yet also in Namibia occult and ritualistic activities and ceremonies take place, performed by Namibians who believe in the power of superstition. I reported on ritualistic murders in this country as far back as 2005 and 2008. In 2012, members of the national police force discovered items suspected to have been used in a witchcraft ritual near the Nonidas plots some 10 kilometres east of Swakopmund.
When on June 29, 2021 the lifeless body of a 22-year old student, Mukuve Frederick Kanyanga, who had been missing for several days, was found floating in the Okavango river near the Kapako village, in the extreme north-eastern corner of the country, many villagers immediately thought of foul play. “Similar incidents are common in the area where his lifeless body was found,” Kavango East regional councillor Damian Maghambayi commented. And when the victim’s sister, Justa Kalyangu, was interviewed she said: “We need investigators from other regions to come help our police here. Over 18 people have died or have gone missing in this area over the years and no investigations are done.”
Though the cause of Kanyanga’s death has not yet been established officially and hence talking about suspicions and a possible ritual killing constitute non-confirmed speculations, the rumors spreading after his death and the anxiety shown by his relatives and the villagers clearly show that ritual murders are far from an abstract phenomenon in Namibia (webmaster FVDK).
Missing student’s body found in Okavango
Published: June 29, 2021 By: The Namibian – Enoke Kaumba and Ester Mbathera
THE mysterious death of 22-year-old University of Namibia student Mukuve Frederick Kanyanga has sent shockwaves through communities in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East region.
Kanyanga’s body was discovered floating in the Okavango River near the Kapako village on Thursday last week.
Kavango East regional councillor Damian Maghambayi on Friday issued a statement expressing shock and disbelief about the incident.
“The mysterious death of Mukuve brought shockwaves among communities of Mukwe. Similar incidents are common in the area where his lifeless body was found,” he remarked.
Rumours have suggested that the incident was linked to ritual killing. Maghambayi cautioned communities and the family to remain calm and allow the police to conduct their investigations.
Kanyanga’s sister Justa Kalyangu last spoke to him on Sunday last week, when he arrived at Divindu from Rundu. He was supposed to have accompanied a friend to a funeral at a village near Divundu.
“When we spoke he said he is coming to the funeral. I thought it was the funeral of our relative but he came for a different funeral. He was not at the memorial service or the funeral. I called him the next day and he did not pick up his phone,” said Kalyangu.
During the following days, she kept calling Kanyanga’s phone, which was ringing but not being picked up. Kalyangu told The Namibian that on Monday 21 June, she approached the Mukwe police to report a missing person. The same day she also put out a missing person’s post on social media.
“They only asked that we give them a picture and all his details. Thereafter nothing happened. I asked some family members to help me search for him on Tuesday 22 June.
“On Thursday morning I went to the police to ask that they issue us a search warrant so that we can search the houses. That is when I received a call that the person we are looking for has been found in the river,” added Kalyangu.
She added to Maghambayi suspicions that people are dying and going missing mysteriously in the area.
“We need investigators from other regions to come help our police here. Over 18 people have died or have gone missing in this area over the years and no investigations are done,” she said.
Kavango East governor Bonifasius Wakudumo also expressed condolences to the family and the residents of the region.
The governor has encouraged the youth in the region to be very mindful when choosing friends.
“We must be cautious of the friends that you have, because you never know what is inside a person.
“When you move in a group of people the family must know who you are with because if anything happens they will not hesitate to contact the colleagues you said you were with,” said the governor.
Kavango East acting regional commander, deputy commissioner Vilho Kalwenya said the police have interrogated the group of friends the deceased was with before his disappearance.
“We cannot reach a conclusion of arresting anyone because there isn’t any evidence that suggests an arrest,” he said.
Kalwenya added the police are doing their best in their investigations.
He cautioned the community members to stop spreading unsubstantiated rumours about ritual killings.
“The post mortem will tell us the cause of the death. Those who are spreading unsubstatiated rumours on the issue should prove to us because the autopsy is not concluded, people are already making conclusions,” he said.
The following reflection is important. It shows that there are good-hearted and highly educated Zimbabweans who convincingly argue that the recent ritual murders necessitate an adjustment of the country’s laws. This reaction is partly motivated by the ritualistic killing of Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa and the two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa (see my previous postings).
The author of the article presented below also focuses on a person who is often behind these ritual killings: the songoma or faith healer. Too often, the songoma is left out of the investigations following the ritual murder and not implicated in the trial of the actual killer(s) whereas in fact the songoma can be considered an important driving force behind the heinous crime which is committed during the murderous traditional ritual.
Let’s monitor how swiftly Zimbabwe’s rulers including lawmakers and the judiciary act! I will keep you informed (webmaster FVDK).
Time to look beyond ritual murderers
Published: April 30, 2021 By: Zimbabwe Independent – Sharon Hofisi
I ONCE represented people charged with murder in court. That was where I had my first real encounter with the subject of intentional or negligent killing. It was not a positive experience. Nevertheless, I got some acquittals. I remember the cases well. They took my inexperienced product of law school and taught me to understand the criminal laws and procedures of this country with deep preparation. So I took the cases on a pro deo basis. Put simply, this means acting for God. But with the increasing ritual killings, a lack of deliberate offences on ritual killings and honour crimes is a serious lacuna in our criminal justice system.
The purpose of criminal laws should mirror the nature of the society itself. Societies that are governed through laws are called to heal the divisions caused by violators of the law. When a society seems to be in danger of endless commissions of heinous crimes, focusing too much on investigation machinery and work and neglecting criminal law reform may pose further deep seated challenges. What often happens, however, is that even if the laws are reformed, we need to guard against reactionary responses to endemic problems. If the purpose of criminal law reform is to curb impunity in all forms of killings and deal decisively with utter disregard of the sanctity of human life, then a law can be a healthy first step in protecting the rights of vulnerable sections of society such as women, children, persons with albinism and other disabilities.
Even a criminal law reform committee will be horrified to learn that ritual motivators are not part of the suspects to be arrested. We are encouraged by the fact that our criminal laws allow for the arrest and prosecution of accomplices. But psyched people are usually afraid of the unknown. The psyched ritual killers strike fast, simultaneously attacking unsuspecting children or persons with disabilities.
The details that usually emerge after the gruesome killings are too numerous and disturbing. We definitely cannot bring our conscience to understand the difference between the actual killer and the one who motivates the killer to do so. The killer believes it is going to be an “all-for-purple-life” killing. Later, he is taught that the act was natural after all when he gets caught. It was his darkest ritual psyched moments that brought the longest, bloodiest, most heinous crimes to carry out. It costs innocent lives and no financial rewards as promised. And most families of the killers are left destitute. The breadwinner is locked up and the family is drawn into incessant wars of appeasing vengeful spirits as contemplated in our traditional faiths.
The hideous scars born by the families of the victims will last a very long time. But these ritual killing motivators are cunning and they will continue to hoodwink many people into psyched killings. They may never get their comeuppance. Certainly the time has come to act decisively on criminal law reform on ritual murder and honour crimes in Zimbabwe. Legislation, the passing of Acts in Parliament, is the most important of Parliament’s many tasks. I believe many stakeholders can agree on the explanatory memorandum for a Ritual Murders and Honour Crimes Bill. The long title of that Bill can deal with issues relating to the ritual murders and honour crimes and other purposes connected with these issues. The enacting formula can be decided by the nature of offences being committed usually against vulnerable sections of societies such as children, elderly women, persons with disabilities and so forth.
Perhaps the major point to grasp about ritual killings is that a psychic person, or even a bogus part of a psychic person, promises someone a lavish lifestyle once a heinous crime is committed. It could be the killing of a sibling, distant relative or some stranger. Exactly what is meant by “ritual” is not necessarily obvious since the killing of the person is controlled by the killer who uses the elaborate descriptions from the psychic leader. A small change in the psychic instructions can make a huge difference – so we hear from failed ritual killing missions. Each small step is catalysed and crystallised by the need for hot porridge riches. Many of these random killings may do the killer no harm if he observes the instructions (muko). Sometimes the killer will destroy the fighting powers of the deceased through some further rituals, kutsipika ngozi. This means that in any event, the killer is fully aware that they intentionally committed murder.
Reading stories about gruesome murders of young children by people who were promised material or financial gains tests our resolve as a polity of relationships between crime and fighting crime. We are given a set of criminal instances and must choose another set of responses that is related in the same way.
Many reforms of criminal laws are possible. Reading the modus operandi of criminals test our ability to understand and interpret the criminal laws we can promulgate in response. This is probably the most important ability we need as a society at the moment.
In analysis of the killings of children in our media reportages, we are presented with situations detailing criminal events and then a result of something that is steered by someone who is believed to possess some supernatural or magical powers to make people rich, overnight.
Our task is to decide in the legal and non-legal fraternity whether certain statements or motivations to commit crimes provide adequate explanations of how we can curb violent crimes. Each new crime provides us with a new format for criminal law reform.
For Zimbabwe and the disturbing killings, it’s now much more than just a usual ritual murder, headlines and efficient state response. We need to move beyond crime scene visits and the arrest of suspects. Ritual murders are now shaping an entire generation of criminal inquiry. It’s now the time to transform the changing and disturbing criminal scenes of the last ten or so years into a clear and widely-reformed criminal justice system in Zimbabwe. The motivating variable in this urgent need for criminal justice reform is steeped in legal realism. Law may be stable, but it cannot stand still if I may employ Roscoe Pound’s philosophy.
Are these ritual crimes something reflective of honour crimes, where relatives and close acquaintances are the pawns in the much bigger chess game? Barely when the Makore killing had left our minds we hear of the gruesome murder of two children. Zimbabwe has witnessed the targeted ritual killings which encourage criminal responsibility to be broadened in scope. Each killing achieves a disturbing measure of brutality and mental intention to kill. The recurring pattern of failed rituals that are broken by arrest of the suspects and eventual incarceration of such suspects all have at most one thing in common: each killing in its own way forces the killer and the ritual motivator to forge an unholy alliance; share the same mental and actual intention to kill, only from the opposite perspective.
The actual killer is psyched to kill. The ritual motivator psyches the ultimate killer. Each fails to see that confronted with effective investigation machinery the prospective ritual will inevitably not succeed. Equally gruesomely, each fails to see that the criminal path between hatching a heinous act of killing and frenzied killing act is not only false but leads towards a catastrophic breakdown of the family fabric.
The falsity of the ritual shows that one or two or more or many suspects are arrested. The ritual motivator, the instigator of the death of the innocent young souls remains. He or she continues hoodwinking many people into killing many young children.
All in the name of enhancing business or getting filthy money! Here too, there is more criminality in the sangoma or faith healer than criminal intention in the actual killer. The sangoma or ritual motivator does not simply aim to alleviate poverty through the loss of innocent blood of a family member, gruesome murder, psyched actions, and so forth. Efforts to control and encourage killing, no matter how important or necessary, are only one aspect of “intentional killing”. The sanctity of human life, and human life itself, as we know from our Constitution and even various types of our faiths, depend on more than the alleviation of poverty and the satisfaction of material needs. The reason for which we were created is to enjoy life and the maker of it forever.
Hofisi is a transformative transitional justice practitioner, normative influencer and disruptive thinker.
Unfortunately, the below article contains a too familiar story. Attacks on persons with albinism, mutilation, murder, involvement of high-placed politicians, cover up practices. The President of the Associations of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), Ian Simbota, again turned his attention to the country’s rulers and requested the government of President Lazarus Chakwera to speed up all abduction and murder cases which targeted people with albinism (PWA) for ritualistic purposes, often involving high-profile politicians.
It is shocking to read the following article. I won’t repeat here what follows. Once more, however, I want to draw attention to these heinous crimes which threaten people with albinisme on a daily basis. Ritual murders must end. Politicians and other culprits who are involved must be apprehended, put on trial and sentenced. Simultaneously, a national awareness campaign must start, emphasizing the sanctity of life, the need to protect innocent people, the promotion of human rights notably to right to live and the right to live without fear. The government must take its responsibility and act accordingly – or resign. (webmaster FVDK).
APAM asks Tonse Alliance Govt. to speed upon ‘albino’ cases
Published: April 29, 2021 By: Nyasa Times – Tiwonge Kumwenda
Today, a voice from Kenya: the voice of Isaac Mwaura, senator for persons living with disabilities (PWDs). He is the first Member of Parliament (MP) in Kenya with albinism. It is important to emphasize the fact that Isaac Mwaura himself is a person living with albinism, so he knows what he’s talking about. He knows the constraints which people living with disabilities have to face in society, he knows what discrimination means in practice, he knows the dangers which notably people living with albinism have to confront.
You’ll find his impressive Wikipedia page here. Isaac Mwaura can be followed on Twitter where he tweets as @MwauraIsaac1
In the message reproduced below senator Isaac Mwaura sumps up what he has been able to achieve since he was elected in parliament. It is an impressive list, though far from complete. Still much has to be done to protect the interests of people living with albinism which forms a broad and varied group. It is significant that – inter alinea – he mentions that he has been able to rescue Kenyans with albinism, including children, from ritual killing.
In several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa people with albinism are being hunted, kidnapped, mutilated and killed for obscure reasons based on superstition. The example of Isaac Mwaura merits to be duplicated in other SSA countries. Let his voice be heard! (webmaster FVDK).
People have been asking me what has been achieved so far in representing people living with disability in Parliament and politics in general.
My answer is simple: A lot has really been achieved, against all odds.
It’s important to note the marginalisation, stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities has been going on for thousands of years. This is largely because of the way many societies perceive the functional, and indeed, utilitarian aspects of a human being, especially a child who is born differently.
Disability in many societies has been seen as a taboo, a bad omen or even a disease. Therefore, very few people are socialised to embrace it. This means a lot of the work we do is to ‘deconstruct’ these notions on one hand, and also to increase equal opportunities for PWD.
In my journey for eight years since the constitutionally recognised representation of PWDs, the first thing I did upon assumption of office was to form an association of all MPs with disabilities.
I formed the Kenya Disability Parliamentary Association (Kedipa) with 13 members, five of whom were nominated to represent persons with disabilities, six directly elected by the people in single member constituencies, and one being a parent.
Kedipa became the first caucus of its kind in the history of Parliament. The aim was to create synergy amongst MPs for the disability agenda to be promoted in Parliament.
For example, Parliament wasn’t as accessible to wheelchair users and people with other mobility difficulties. In this regard, we pushed for the modification of the chamber and provided an extra aide to assist those with mobility difficulties.
Through legislative proposals, I have been able to to increase the retirement age of PWDs from 60 to 65 years to compensate for years lost due to lack of employment.
I have also been able to help hundreds of PWDs secure jobs in the public and private sectors. I have also ensured several of them were appointed to constitutional offices such as constitutional commissions.
A very interesting innovation is the enrollment of youth with disabilities into the National Youth Service. This paramilitary training was perceived as not attainable by PWDs, yet hundreds have since graduated with useful skills for the nation. This is the world’s first programme of its kind.
In terms of education, I have successfully pushed to increase funding to special schools, helped create a full directorate of special needs education from a division at the Ministry of Education.
I pushed to create a special allocation of funds to education assessment resources centres and ensured all boards of management in all public schools include a representative of PWDs.
For the first time in the history of Parliament, special schools learners have visited the House to follow live proceedings, and I have enabled some of them to get school buses.
I have also visited special schools across many counties in far-off places such as as Lisa Hola School for the Deaf in Tana River.
PWDs are now represented in the NGCDF from the constituency level to the national board. They are also represented in all the Uwezo Fund committees.
Kenya Sign Language has now been elevated to to English and Kiswahili to ensure the deaf have an equal chance, over and above ensuring TV stations provide this critical service.
In government budgeting, I pushed to increase the funds allocated to the NCPWD from Sh700 million to Sh1.8 billion to cater for amongst others, cash transfer for Kenyans with severe disabilities.
Further, persons with albinism receive free sunscreen lotion, protective gear and skin cancer treatment from the government, thanks to my work.
I also started the Mr & Miss Albinism beauty pageantry to create awareness. Then other African countries have adopted this.
I have also lobbied for the creation of the position of the Africa Union Special Envoy on the rights of persons with albinism. I have also lobbied the EU Parliament to adopt fair treatment of albinism as a human rights issue.
Additionally, I have also rescued Kenyans with albinism, including children, from ritual killing. In 2019, I helped PWAs to be counted for the first time, including the intersex persons who heretofore hadn’t been recognised in Kenya.
Through the AT2030 project, I have pushed for the production of a local electric wheelchair that is affordable and durable in our terrain.
I have sponsored the highest number of bills in the Senate.
A lot remains to be done but we have progress to build upon for a better tomorrow for all of us. As someone said, disability is a club, anybody can be a member.
A gruesome murder in Chipata, Eastern Province, Zambia.
It is not the first time that the Eastern Province is in the news with an attack on a person with albinism. Also last year, in 2019, the province made headlines with the murder of an albino. Often, Zambians point an accusing finger to neighboring Malawi when a mutilated body of an albino is found. However, just recently, in January of the current year, a prominent Zambian, MDD president Dr Nevers Mumba, alleged that ritual killings are common in Zambia and have always happened towards elections.
POLICE in Chipata have picked up a dead body of an albino without a tongue, arms and eyes.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner Lackson Sakala said police recoverd the body at Yamene farms along the Chipata/Lundazi road yesterday.
Mr. Sakala said the incident occurred between 15 hours and 17 hours adding that the deceased was found in a maize field at a distance of about 60 metres from the Chipata/Lundazi Road.
He said when police officers visited the scene of the suspected murder they discovered that some body parts were missing.
“After inspecting the body they discovered that the following body parts were missing; there was no tongue in the mouth, the tongue was cut, both eyes were removed and both arms were also removed by way of amputation. The victim at the time he met his untimely death was wearing a jean trousers, red t-shirt and black shoes,” Mr Sakala said.
He said the body had since been deposited in Chipata Central Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem.
“May I appeal to those that may miss their relative, an albino to come through so that they identify this unknown albino who was murdered yesterday. As police we have actually instituted investigations into this gruesome murder,” Mr Sakala said.
The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) fears that this will increase the already fragile position of people living with albinism in Malawi. History teaches us that attacks on people with albinism increase during election campaigns. The Malawian government fails to react properly. Since 2014, 171 attacks against people with albinism were carried out of which 25 persons were killed and 13 were reported missing. Hence, the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi has launched an anti-killings campaign. (webmaster FVDK).
Malawi persons with albinism launch anti-killings campaign
The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has launched a campaign to condemn killings of people with albinism for rituals ahead of the fresh presidential polls in the country.
APAM President Ian Simbota, told local media Sunday after the launch that members of the Association fear for their lives as some study showed that persons with albinism are targeted for rituals during elections. Simbota told Xinhua Monday that as of March 23rd, 2020, APAM had recorded 171 cases of attacks against people with albinism of which 25 persons were killed and 13 were reported missing since 2014. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
“We received the February 3 judgement with mixed reactions because on one hand we were happy that we will be given back our ballot power but on the other hand looked at the threatening times that we always go through because of the same election exercise,” said Simbota.He said during the campaign the APAM members want to sensitize mostly political leaders to desist from beliefs that killing a person with albinism and getting their body parts for rituals can make them win an election.
“Those things don’t exist, it’s just some evil way of thinking. We are the voters and politicians should use us as such and not as rituals; it does not work,” said Simbota.”We are a population of 134,636 people and those are the votes that we are worth,” he added. In 2015 UN Human Rights Expert on Albinism Ikponwosa Ero, linked the killings of persons with albinism in Africa to elections, saying many political hopefuls believe that body parts of persons with albinism can be used as charms for one to win an election. (bold added by the webmaster FVDK)
With 2.4 million square kilometers, at least 250 ethnic and language groups and a total population of nearly 100 million people, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of Africa’s giants. The following map illustrates the real size of the DRC.
The number of people living with albinism in the DRC is unknown, but they are a vulnerable group, sometimes hunted down as animals, like in neighboring Central and Southern African countries. In the article below an albino woman, Lisa, narrates her story, how she escaped from being murdered. She was also sexually abused. Lisa lives in a remote area of South Kivu, an administrative region bordering Rwanda and Burundi. Much of the article focuses on sexual violence and unfortunately Lisa’s experiences are shared by many other women in the DRC.
People living with albinism are discriminated and enjoy even less protection from the State than other Congolese citizens. Superstition, witchcraft, lack of protection, human rights violations, ritual murder, sexual abuse. Read Lisa’s story and shiver. (webmaster FVDK).
Sex abuse survivor reveals kidnapper wanted to kill her and use her bones in witchcraft
Lisa – an albino who lacks pigmentation in her hair, eyes and skin – tells the Record how a man lured her away from home in the Congo so he could murder her and perform magic rituals with her remains.
He wanted to butcher her and use her bones in magic ceremonies.
Sexual abuse survivor Lisa – an albino who lacks pigmentation in her hair, eyes and skin – is quietly telling how a man wooed her, expressing his undying love before luring her away from home to murder her and perform rituals with her remains.
Her delicate features remain impassive as she recounts her horrific ordeal. Her condition – which affects the production of melanin, the pigment that colours skin, hair and eyes – can be a gruesome death sentence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Daily Record and Sunday Mail have run a series of hard-hitting stories this week after we travelled there to uncover the reality for women in the country once dubbed the “rape capital of the world”.
According to the Home Office, 40 per cent of women in the area we visited – South Kivu – have suffered sexual violence.
Before she was kidnapped, Lisa had already suffered. The 22-year-old has one child born of rape. She was attacked when she was 18 as she worked in the fields around her village.
Often, women like Lisa have to be treated in poorly-equipped hospitals where doctors have to perform gynaecological surgery using the light of their mobile phones thanks to the frequent power cuts.
She said: “I was in the field working when I was raped. A man came and forced himself on me and I got pregnant. I gave birth to a boy. At first, when he was born, he was unwell but now he is fine and I love him very much.”
In DRC, there are many mothers who became pregnant after being attacked.
In the eyes of the law, their children do not exist but, thanks to SCIAF, Scotland’s Catholic international aid agency, they can now get a birth certificate, which gives them access to healthcare and education.
Lisa, who lives in a remote area of South Kivu, added: “Albino people like me are often discriminated against here. There are people who say that albinos can work magic. People point at me in the village and say bad things.
“One day, a man came to my village and he was very nice to me. He said he had fallen in love with me and he talked me into going on the bus with him to the city of Bukavu. He took me to a house and left me there.
“Another man came and asked me if I knew the other man. I had to admit that I didn’t really know him that well. It was then that he told me the other man was bad and trafficked albino people.
“He wanted to kill me and use my bones in witchcraft. I left as soon as I could and went back to my own village. Things are better now. I did not go to school and I can’t read or write but I would like my boy to study and do great things.”
Lisa has been supported by the generosity of Scottish people through SCIAF, which supports local projects promoting women’s rights, gender equality and provides services to the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
Gran Sylvia, 41, is another woman who has survived sexual abuse and is now receiving support through SCIAF.
She was abducted by rebel gangs and had to leave behind her two-month-old baby.
She was forced to become the “wife” of a rebel commander and was abducted for four years. During this time, her baby and mother had died and her husband had remarried.
She was left traumatised and now receives counselling, seeds, tools and training in how to grow food to feed the family and sell any surplus.
Sylvia said: “They made me walk and they hit me on the back with the butt of their guns. I left everything. If you said you were tired, they would say, ‘OK, you want to rest?’ and they would shoot you.
“I saw two people shot like this. We were all afraid. Those who refused to have sex were killed and their bodies fed to the pigs. I saw so many people die.
“This life was the worst.”
Thanks to the support of Scots through SCIAF, things have turned around. She added: “The counselling helped very much. After this, I still felt hurt but not as badly as before.
“I say, show me the one who brought this programme here and I could kiss them. Whenever I hear SCIAF is visiting, I feel happy.”
SCIAF funds medical care and surgery for women who have suffered sexual violence.
The rape epidemic means that doctors at Katana hospital are now world experts in fistula surgery despite the basic conditions.
Dr Michael Chanikire, 38, said: “When I work with these women, I think they could be my mother, wife or sister. It hurts to see people hurt in these ways. They are often traumatised by their suffering.
“I have worked in Europe and one of the main medical issues there is cancer but here we see a lot of fistula problems caused by the trauma of rape and sexual violence. There are times when we have no electricity and we have to use the lights on our mobile phones to perform surgery.
“Women fear coming here as there are many rebels in the area and they will know she has come for treatment and they know she will be asked about what has happened to her.
“Sometimes, it feels like we doctors have come through hell dealing with the things we have to do. It is rewarding too, though. My mother sees me wearing my white coat and she feels so proud of me.
“She knows I am doing my best to help women and that makes her very happy.”
It is not known with certainty how many people in Africa are affected by OCA, which stands for ‘Oculocutaneous albinism’ (see below). It maybe a quarter of a million, it may be more. What we do know is the plight of persons with albinism. The lack of melanin which brings this condition with it, results in unhealthy effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure. Moreover, widespread superstition causes many wicked people to believe that albino body parts bring wealth and/or power. As a result, persons with albinism are chased, kidnapped, murdered.
The article below contains many examples of these gruesome practices which occur in many African countries. The author, Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor of the Liberian newspaper, The Daily Observer , is to be commend for drawing attention to these outdated and cruel practices which constitute a serious violation of the human rights of people with albinism and have no place in a modern society.
Warning: the following article contains graphic details of cruel ritualistic activities (webmaster FVDK).
Africa’s Shameful Acts of Racism: The Plight of Persons with Albinism (PLWA) in Africa
Published: December 2, 2019 By: Edmund Zar-Zar Bargblor, The Daily Observer (Liberia), Webmaster Admin
Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior to another, and that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. On the African Continent, we have seen the impact of colonialism and its attributes of racism and discrimination.
The former Apartheid system in South Africa and its institutionalized racial segregation was an extreme expression of European treatments of Africans. The miserable treatment of people living with Albinism by fellow Africans is not only unfortunate, it is shameful.
The condition known as ‘Oculocutaneous albinism’ (OCA) is a genetically inherited autosomal recessive condition and OCA2, tyrosine-positive albinism, is the most prevalent type found throughout Africa. Due to the lack of melanin, people with albinism are more susceptible to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure.
The National Institutes of Health reported that about 200,000 Americans are affected; and around the world, it is between one in 17,000 and one in 20,000 people are people living with albinism. However, it is prevalence in parts of Africa, but it is far higher than the global average. People living with Albinism makeup about one in 4,000 people in South Africa and perhaps one in 5,000 in Nigeria. According to a 2006 review published in the journal BMC Public Health, the prevalence in Tanzania is one in 1,400, but this estimate is based on incomplete data. Since Tanzania’s total population is more than 40 million that would suggest an albinism community of about 30,000. A census is underway, however, and the Albinism Association of Tanzania believes the total figure could be more than 150,000.
People living with Albinism suffered in the hands of fellow Africans
The human rights organization Amnesty International quoted the Malawian police’s description of the gruesome murder of Mr. Machinjiri: “About four men trafficked him to Mozambique and killed him. The men chopped off both his arms and legs and removed his bones. Then they buried the rest of his body in a shallow grave.”
There are superstitions in some parts of Africa that albino body parts bring wealth, power or sexual conquest, and that having sex with a person living with the condition of albinism cures HIV and AIDS. Attackers sell albino body parts to witch doctors for thousands of dollars, according to Amnesty International. In Tanzania, some 75 people living with albinism were reported killed between 2000 and 2016.
Also, there have been reports of people living with albinism killings in South Africa; although such crimes are less common there than in Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi. Last February, a South African court sentenced a traditional healer to life in prison for murdering a 20-year-old woman living with albinism.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN agency that deals with human rights issues reported in 2016 that hunters of people living with albinism sell an entire human corpse for up to $75,000, while an arm or a leg could fetch about $2,000”.
In many African countries, it is sad and shameful the atrocious manner in which people living with albinism are treated; their lives are compounded by “exclusion, stigmatization, and denial of basic rights such as the right to education and health,” according to Amnesty International. People living with Albinism continue to experience social isolation and stigma which includes name-calling, mockery, and exclusion from certain community activities.
It is reported in Zambia that at least ten people living with albinism are murdered in ritual killings every year. Some believe their body parts bring wealth or luck. Those born with the genetic condition are calling for an end to this madness. There are more than 25,000 people living with the condition in Zambia.
According to the Albinism Foundation of Zambia (AFZ), Executive Director John Chiti, more than 25,000 persons with albinism in Zambia are currently in need of sunscreen lotion.
In an interview with Africa Renewal, Ms. Ero, said that the albinism situation in Africa, “is a tragedy.” She referred to the 7,000 to 10,000 people living with albinism in Malawi and thousands of others in Tanzania, Mozambique and other countries as “an endangered people”, facing a “risk of extinction if nothing is done.” Tanzanians call people living with albinism zeru,zeru, meaning “ghosts.”
Prevailing Superstitious Mindsets
Superstitious mindsets in some African countries continue to seek murdered for body parts, including infants and babies. Most of the attacks have taken place in Tanzania. Murders and attempted attacks, though in smaller numbers, have also been documented in Burundi, Kenya, Swaziland, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Zambia, Namibia, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.
The Converson.com conducted research and looked at media reports published between 2008 and 2011 on albinism and murders in Tanzania. It published a data set of 563 media reports in both English and Swahili from Tanzanian national newspapers.
The data showed that the Tanzanian press portrayed and explained violent attacks against persons with albinism in four ways. They were:
“When I was at primary school, people used to laugh at me, tease me – some didn’t even like to touch me, saying that if they touched me they would get this color. People used to abuse me on the road when I took the buses to school. They would run after me – crowds of kids following me – shouting ‘zeru, zeru’. (zeru, zeru, is a derogatory term).
The Conversation.com has identified the following recommendations.
There is an urgent need to address the violence faced by this vulnerable group. Public health awareness is an important first step.
Adequate health services for skin and vision disabilities should be prioritized.
Putting out messages that counter the stigma against people living with Albinism is also important, as is access to education.
Interventions must consider Albinism’ human rights. For example, putting children with albinism in camps may protect their right to life and security,but it restricts their rights to freedom of movement, and family life.
In addition, African Governments should seriously advocate against harmful practices against people living with albinism. State parties should take all appropriate measures and offer support and assistance to victims of harmful practices, including legal sanctions, education, and advocacy campaign to eliminate harmful practices perpetrated on persons with albinism, such as witchcrafts, abandonment concealment, ritual killings, etc.
One thing for sure, the people living with Albinism did not create themselves; they were created in the same way you and I were created by the God who doesn’t make a MISTAKE. Their birth process is the same as you and me! Their mothers’ carried them for nine (9) months in their wombs before giving birth to them.
Who are we – be it an individual or government to decide that they should not live because they are different? Did God ask he needs our HELP to make His decision? The Almighty God does not need the assistance of mortal humans to run his affairs. The actions of those individuals perpetuating violence against persons suffering from albinism are no different than King Leopold II of Belgium, Adolph Hitler of Germany, Napoleon Bonaparte of France, and White racists today.
In Genesis 1:31(NIV): “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” God himself said it was Good, NOT bad. God doesn’t create anything UGLY! So, why individuals, including governments, are killing these innocent people? In addition, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 instructs us to “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Accordingly, the GENOCIDE against these poor innocent people must be STOPPED!
Now, take a closer look at the beautiful tapestry of the people living with Albinism provided here. The question that readily comes to mind is any of you better looking than the people living with Albinism provided in these photos? I DOUBT IT! Therefore, let the persecution and killing of people living with Albinism STOP before the wrath of God descends upon us.
As Africans, it is embarrassing to read or hear that other Africans are discriminated against due to their race. Racism is contrary to God’s plan for humanity. The divisions we face today in contemporary Western nations are due to Race, the color of one’s skin or ethnic background. And obviously, this perception is not part of God’s plan.
In the words of Maya Angelou: “We, the black people, the most displaced, the poorest, the most maligned and scourged, we had the glorious task of reclaiming the soul and saving the honor of the country. We, the most hated, must take hate into our hands and by the miracle of love, turn loathing into love. We, the most feared and apprehensive must take the fear and by love, change it into hope. We, who die daily in large and small ways, must take the demon death and turn it into life.”
This is the second murder within a short period of time.
It is being alleged that Eastern Province has so far recorded the highest number of ritualistic murder cases (….). Zambia Albino Foundation president John Chiti stated that he suspects the province is recording a lot of cases because of the border with Malawi. “Something could be going on regarding the selling of body parts from one country to the other,” he said.
Maybe he’s right. However, it is common to blame foreigners when crimes are committed whereas the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, attacks on people with albinism, mutilating or murdering them for muti purposes, are often Zambians (webmaster FVDK).
CHIEF Ndake of the Nsenga people in Nyimba district has called for an urgent meeting with his indunas and village headmen following the brutal killing of an albino man last Thursday.
And Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia Bishop William Mchombo has called on the government to come up with strong intervention with traditional doctors to dispel the myth that albino body parts can bring immediate success in terms of wealth.
Meanwhile, Zambia Albino Foundation president John Chiti has expressed concern at the increase in albino killings in Eastern Province.
Gift Tembo, 39 of Abraham village, was murdered by unknown people around 01:00 hours on October 31.
Eastern Province deputy police commissioner Geoffrey Kunda confirmed the incident, saying Tembo’s throat was cut and his body dumped few metres from his house.
Commenting on the matter, chief Ndake said there was need for the local community to find ways of protecting people living with albinism.
“This is very devastating to me and the entire chiefdom. I will soon call for an urgent meeting with village head persons and indunas so that we find ways on how we can protect people living with albinism. If they are targeted like this then there is need for us as a community to find ways on how we can protect them,” he said.
Chief Ndake appealed to people to be on the lookout for those who were killing albinos.
“Those who have tips regarding the people who are killing albinos should come forward and report because it will not help us to hide these people. We don’t know what government can do so that we assist these people because it’s like albinos are on wanted list,” he said.
Ndake said Tembo was put to rest on Sunday.
“This is a very sad story. This young man who was staying alone struggled with his attackers. When the family members heard the deceased screaming, they went to check. They found that the attackers had carried the deceased and were running away with him,” he said.
“So when the relatives gave chase, the attackers dumped the body and ran away. Upon checking the body, the family members discovered that the deceased had been stabbed with a knife and his throat was cut off. This is sad and up to now we are deeply shocked because this is the second incident to have happened in the area within a short period of time,” he said.
Chief Ndake described the killing as cold blooded and unfortunate.
He said during Tembo’s funeral on Sunday, he pleaded with people to work together and end such killings.
Commenting on the incident, Bishop Mchombo said Tembo’s killing was unfortunate.
“This is very unfortunate. I think this has to do with the ritual killing where people believe that parts of an albino can bring them immediate success in terms of wealth, which is a myth. It’s not true,” he said.
“I think the sooner that is addressed, the better especially if government can bring about strong interventions with traditional doctors. This is where the whole thing come from because that’s what people are told, that when you do such a thing then you will be a rich person.”
Bishop Mchombo also called for more sensitisation on albinos.
“These are human beings and should be appreciated as they are. It’s just a deficient of some scientific proven attributes that make them the way they look but in terms of humanity they are as good as anybody else and they should be left alone and do what they want,” he said. “My advice is that let there be serious interventions from government and if people are found in such situations, the perpetrators of such heinous crimes let there be rules that will deter other people from committing similar crimes.”
Bishop Mchombo said the church and other stakeholders should ensure that they bring about awareness on matters relating to albinos who were also created in the image of God.
And Chiti said his foundation would contact Tembo’s family to see the kind of support it could provide.
“It is always a sad moment when we hear such news, we are saddened by the loss. What we are trying to do is to get in touch with the family and see what kind of support and anything else that can be done. We strongly condemn such killings. We just appeal to the relevant authorities to make sure that the culprits are brought to book,” he said.
Chiti also advised families with albinos to be careful because their lives were at risk.
“Eastern Province has so far recorded the highest number of cases, so it is a source of concern to us. We suspect the province is recording a lot of cases because of the border with Malawi. Something could be going on regarding the selling of body parts from one country to the other,” said Chiti.
Police have since arrested several people in connection with Tembo’s murder.
This site is meant to expose the atrocities committed by persons who believe in superstition, who violate the law, and to draw attention to the – often – lack of action by national governments. Lack of action, to protect their citizens, and lack of action to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of ritualistic murders and related crimes. This time I have good news: the Malawian government has allocated 400 million Malawi Kwacha (about US$ 536,000) of its 2019/2010 national budget to the welfare and protection of its citizens who live with albinism. The budgetary allocation is to be seen in light of Malawi’s Four Year National Action Plan on Persons With Albinism which the government announced last year (June), following a spate of atrocities against people with albinism. Of course, the good news does not mean that we can lean back and be less alert on possible lack of action of the Malawian government when it comes to protecting its albino citizens. But the budgetary allocation and the National Four Year Plan are steps in the right direction for which the Malawi government of President Mutharika is to be commended. (webmaster FVDK).
Published: September 15, 2019 By: Ghana News
Malawi government has allocated 400 million Malawi Kwacha (about 536,000 U.S. dollars) of its 2019/2020 national budget to the welfare and protection of country’s persons with albinism.
Country’s Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha disclosed on Monday at the New Parliament Building in the capital Lilongwe where he presented the 2019/2020 national budget.
In the recent past, the Southern African country has been faced with barbaric acts of violence on persons with albinism, including killing, dismembering and exhuming their bodies for ritual beliefs.
Following the atrocities against the persons with albinism, the Malawi government June last year developed a four year National Action Plan on Persons With Albinism which was designed to guide efforts of dealing with the challenges.
Mwanamvekha said the allocation was meant to help in the successful implementation of the Action Plan.
In addition to this allocation, 600 million Malawi Kwacha under the Decent and Affordable Housing Project has been earmarked for the construction of houses for persons with albinism.
The National Action Plan on Persons With Albinism focuses on all aspects of life including education, health, economic activity, protection from abuse and human rights.