Albinism in Africa is being given the much-needed attention it deserves by the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities.
Albinism Society of SA (Assa) president Nomasonto Mazibuko is currently attending the secretariat's "Albinism Africa" strategic planning workshop, which started at the weekend and is due to end today in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Some of the countries attending the workshop are Senegal, Botswana, Kenya and Malawi.
Albinism is an inherited condition that is caused by a fault in skin pigmentation, leading to a lack of colour in the skin, hair and eyes.
Before she left South Africa last week, Mazibuko - whose Assa conducts the yearly National Schools Essay Competition on Albinism with several partners including Sowetan - said she was glad the workshop was taking place in Tanzania.
"Tanzania is one of several countries in mainland Africa where albinism awareness, education and public understanding, acceptance and appreciation is direly needed because our fellow Africans with albinism there are having a hard time," she said.
"While the strategic planning workshop is aimed at developing leadership, project management and strategic planning skills of leaders of groups, societies and organisations looking after the welfare of people with albinism, we need to ensure that people with albinism are regarded and treated as normal and fellow human beings instead of suffering untold prejudice and discrimination."
Mazibuko said the secretariat was also holding a strategic planning workshop to help establish a strong Pan-African network that would be aligned to the ideals of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.