This past week the Gaborone City Council adopted a motion by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Marulamantsi councilor Yellowman Kgosietsile, which amongst other things sought to take a strong stance in the protection of people living with albinism.
The Council now has to approach the government to request protection scheme systems and provide better protection for people living with albinism. According to Kgosietsile, the lack of melanin in albino people makes them susceptible to the sun. He called on government to subsidise protective clothing, sunscreen lotion, sun protective clothing and also the provision of ophthamology testing, free specialised eye care and free glasses for those who need them.
Over the years, it has emerged that people living with albinism are economically disadvantaged and vulnerable since they have suffered from marginalisation. Kgosietsile said his motivation behind this motion was the disturbing statistics from other countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, where people living with albinism were being harvested for body parts. Tanzania and Malawi have the worst records as witchdoctors profit from trading body parts of people living with albinism. Their body parts are believed to harness body magical powers.
In April, the United Nations declared that people living with albinism in Malawi face ‘total extinction’. This is despite the country having issued a shoot order on anyone who attacks any person living with albinism.
The United Nations declared June 13th as the International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) to improve understanding of albinism and remind the world that all people with albinism have equal rights.