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Entries are being invited for the 2008 National Schools Essay Competition on Albinism, which seeks to squash myths and superstitions about the condition.
Albinism is a common yet grossly misunderstood group of inherited yet manageable conditions. People with albinism have little or no pigment or melanin in the eyes, skin and hair.
Children with albinism can inherit from parents an altered copy of a gene that does not allow the body to manufacture normal amounts melanin.
Albinism can be a challenge for children with albinism, but with loving and supportive families and friends, they can lead normal lives.
Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation have made the competition an yearly public education, awareness, understanding success, together with the Albinism Society of South Africa, SA Inherited Disorders Association, the national and provincial health and education departments, Transnet Foundation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
Open to Grade 10 to Grade 12 pupils, the competition requires entrants to write essays of not more than 1000 words on:
lAlbinism: being different in my community;
lAlbinism: experiences of a teenager with albinism;
lAlbinism: how I relate to people with albinism;
lAlbinism: a disability or not?
Neatly written or typed entries should be sent to The National Schools Essay Competition of Albinism, PO Box 9881, Johannesburg, 2000 by July 31.
The 2007 winners: Lehlabile Dibeila - Gauteng, Charles Masango - Mpumalanga and Bomokazi Tetyana - Free State.