Educating through writing

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Sowetan and its partners are continuing to encourage high school pupils and those among us who have this manageable condition to understand, accept and appreciate albinism.

Partners include the Albinism Society of South Africa, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Transnet Foundation and the national departments of health and education.

Sowetan has made the project a part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation's portfolio of youth and community development activities.

Aimed at squashing all myths and superstitions about albinism, the yearly National Schools Essay Competition on Albinism is open to pupils in Grades 10 to 12. Entrants are required to write essays of not more than 1 000 words on any of these topics:

lAlbinism: being different in my community;

l Albinism: experiences of a teenager with albinism;

lAlbinism: how I relate to people with albinism; and

lAlbinism: a disability or not?

Albinism is a manageable, genetic condition in which pigmentation is lacking.

Both ocular albinism, which affects only the eyes, and oculocutaneous albinism, which affects the eyes and the skin, are inherited conditions.

The condition is erroneously thought of as a curse by superstitious and ignorant people.

School can be a challenge for children with albinism, but with professional help and the love and support of family, friends, teachers and fellow pupils, they are able to lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Competition winners in 2006 were Tshilisanani Nedombeloni of Limpopo, Gugu Ntinga of KwaZulu-Natal and Charles Masango of Mpumalanga. Last year's winners were Lehlabile Debeila of Gauteng, Charles Masango of Mpumalanga and Bomokazi Tetyana of Free State. Send entries to: The National Schools Essay Competition on Albinism, PO Box 9881, Johannesburg, 2000 on or before July 31.