Persecuted Over Pigment
Being an albino can be a death sentence in Tanzania. Since 2006, 71 people with no pigment in their skin, hair, or eyes have been killed there. Another 29 have been attacked.
The genetic condition is believed to have been born in this East African nation. Today, 1 in every 1,400 Tanzanians has it (the world average is 1 in 20,000). Nevertheless, misinformation abounds. Some locals believe albinos are ghosts that can’t die. Others think they were born into cursed families. And—most chillingly—witch doctors want to hack off their limbs to put in magic potions promising prosperity and healing. A complete albino “set”—ears, tongue, nose, genitals, all four limbs—can sell for $75,000.
As a result, many of Tanzania’s 17,000 albinos have been hidden away by the government. In this image, Bestida Salvatory is reunited with her 17-year-old daughter, Angel, at the Kabanga Protectorate Center. Angel, who has skin cancer, was forced to flee their home four years ago, after Angel’s own father led a group of men to attack her. Here Angel also visits her one-year-old half-brother, Ezekiel.
Pictures: Inside the Lives of Albinos in Tanzania
A genetic condition surrounded in myth puts the lives and limbs of albinos in Tanzania at stake.