Albinos In Tanzania Are Hunted Like Animals And Sold As Magic Potion Ingredients

Their skin may lack pigmentation, but they're just as human as the rest of us.


In rural parts of Tanzania, it is believed that the hair and body parts of albinos have some magical quality that could bring in wealth and luck, if used as potions. This widespread belief has led to cold-blooded killings of some 70 people with albinism, and now the members of this pale, poor community have launched a human rights campaign against their mass murder.

According to a BBC report, Tanzania is home to some 30,000 albinos, all of whom live their lives in fear that a mob could attack and butcher them for their body parts at any time. Not only has the Tanzanian government failed to do anything to eradicate this erroneous superstition, it has only 10 convictions to show for the 70 grisly murders.

There have been a number of stories in which groups of men have brutally killed young women and children before leaving with their body parts.

"We're being killed like animals. Please pray for us," an albino woman sang through her lyrics at an event organized to raise awareness about the issue.

Even more shocking part is that it's not the poor, uneducated stratum of Tanzanian society which harbors this barbaric fallacy. With customers willing to pay thousands of dollars for a single body part, it's clear that the affluent and the educated are the ones fueling this market.

"How can a poor man offer $10,000 [£6,300] for a body part? It's the businessmen and politicians who are involved," local activist Mashaka Benedict of the Sengerema Albino Society told BBC. "If that's the case, why are we not rich?"

With its limited resources, the Tanzanian government does try to educate its masses, but most of its campaigns are limited to urban areas.


"We would urge the government to do more in educating the community here," said Mtobi Namigambo, whose albino wife and kids miraculously survived an attack a few years ago when he was out on a fishing trip."The government once held seminars about albinism. It made a lot of difference, but not any more."

Before BBC's recent trip to this East African nation, Vice had done the same a few months ago. But other than that, Tanzania's prejudice against its albino community has remained largely hidden from the international media. As a result, it hasn't received the foreign aid most other problems in Africa usually do.

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