Christina Mhlanga was born with albinism 70 years ago, but she says she has never let her physical appearance be a cause for worry in her life.
“I know the wave of attacks some evil people are perpetrating against persons with albinism like me. But I am resolute in my faith in God, confident about the future, proud of my physical appearance.
“I am grateful to God that He created me this way; and, I know He had a special reason for creating me,” she declares.
Mhlanga says she derives her happiness and prestige from the Bible, from which she says: “I am God’s special gift on earth and was sent on a mission, which I will fulfill even in death”.
Mhlanga is a devout Christian who congregates at Chipangano Church at Kapopo Trading Centre in sub-Traditional Authority (S/TA) Kapopo Mhlanga, Mzimba.
Contrary to what other people think, Mhlanga believes her physical appearance has nothing to do with a curse from God.
“To say being a person with albinism is a curse is irreligious and sacrilegious. Genesis 1: 31tells us that whatever God created was ‘very good’, and that includes persons with albinism.
“Therefore, bearing a child or being born with albinism is far from a curse for whoever God created is ‘very good’. God does not distinguish us based on physical appearance, but spiritual uprightness,” emphasises Mhlanga.
Founder and overseer of Life International Church, Prophet Amos Kambale, says: Just like anybody else, God loves and jealously cares for persons with albinism because He created “all of us in His image”.
Kambale declares that anyone perpetrating violence against persons with albinism are driven by evil forces, and that they are guilty of a capital sin before God.
“God intended that mankind should live in love and harmony; and, together serve Him. But when a man is rising up to kill another man, in whatever circumstances, you should know that love is missing.
“We need to unite in removing myths that have led to the hunting, abduction and killing of our innocent brothers and sisters for God cherishes that we should live in peace and harmony,” he emphasises.
Kambale warns that destruction is awaiting perpetrators of violence against persons with albinism because, by violating the rights of innocent people, they are persecuting Jesus Christ who died for mankind on the cross.
National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust national programmes manager Gray Kalindekafe notes that violence against persons with albinism is not only a sin before God, but also an affront to the dignity and sanctity of the human body as guaranteed under international human rights law.
But Kalindekafe notes that myths are at the centre of the killing of persons with albinism.
He explains: “Myths surrounding the genetic condition of albinism persist in many parts of sub-Saharan African countries, including Malawi.
“Superstition in some communities has also led to the belief that persons with albinism either possess some special powers or are incomplete, which is incorrect.”
Kalindekafe says albinism is not a curse or punishment from the gods or ancestral spirits due to wrongs done in the family.
Rather, it is a genetic condition that is passed on from parents to children.
According to Kalindekafe, many people across the globe are carriers of this recessive gene. He emphasises that persons with albinism deserve the same dignity as pigmented persons and faith leaders, civic and opinion leaders and government have the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill their rights.
He recommends that institutions such as security agencies, human rights groups and agencies and religious institutions, among others, need to be more active in condemning and stopping albinos’ killings as well as raising public awareness on human rights in general, and for albinos in particular.
Kalindekafe says there is need for faith leaders, chiefs and political and civic leaders to join hands in a mass civic education to demystify misconceptions that have led to the discrimination, which, in turn, spurs abuses and violations against the rights of persons with albinism
“We all have the duty to extend some special rights to persons with albinism in the form of affirmative action in order to integrate them into mainstream society and to ensure that they live their lives in dignity. If all of us play our part, this vice will stop,” he says. n
Remember, tomorrow is