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‘Ghosts’: Albino Africans discriminated against due to colour of their skin

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  • Albinos in Africa are outcast and reviled because of the colour of their skin.
  • The word for albinos in Swahili is ‘zeruzeru’, which means ‘ghosts’.
  • They are hunted for their body parts, which locals believe can bring luck or cure illnesses.
  • Black market prices range from $2,000 for an Albino limb to $75,000 for a corpse
  • Africans in Tanzania are 8 times more likely to be albino than the global average.
  • An albino child casts a stigma on its entire family and can only live and study safely in special boarding schools.
  • Activists have begun to fight discrimination against African albinos.

The word for albinos in Swahili is ‘zeruzeru’, which means ‘ghosts’.

An albino child casts a stigma on its entire family, and they can only live and study safely in special boarding schools.

In the Tanzanian countryside, albinos are the subject of a wide range of superstitions. Many believe that white-skinned Africans bring bad luck or that they are immortal.

It is also thought that their bones can be used to cure diseases, or as charms to bring wealth.

Because of this, they are hunted for their body parts, with black market prices ranging from $2,000 for an Albino limb to $75,000 for a corpse.

The number of people born with a total absence of skin pigment in Tanzania is 8 times higher than the global average. To date, there is no definitive scientific explanation for this anomaly.

Tanzania Albinism Society activists are now campaigning against such discrimination in the north of the country, where the majority of Tanzanian albino communities are located.

To find out more about ‘Ghosts’, watch Albino Africa at RTD Documentary Channel.