A BEAUTIFUL DESERT ROSE
Mwanzo Millinga, Tanzania
My inspiration to photograph people with albinism is based on personal admiration of them as beautiful people.
Beauty, as a study in aesthetics, is an entity which is adored, or has characters that are refered to beauty. These can either be individual or in a civilization, that involve the interpretation of some entities as being in balance and harmony with nature. The interpretation may lead to fealings of attraction and emotional well-being. Therefore, beauty is a subjective experience, and it is always said that « beauty is in the eye of the beholder. »
Biologically, albinos are people who lack pigment in their skin, eyes and hair. According to biological findings, majority of albinos are dying at the age of 40 mainly due to skin cancer and sun burn. The genetic disorder causing albinism also results in abnormal vision and, nystagmus which is an involuntary eye movements.
Albinos in Tanzania face two major problems. The first problem is genetic disorder in relation in relation to the environment. This shortern their life as sun burn and skin cancer make them die earlier. The second major problem is the killing from fellow human beings.
There is a tendecy of some people to think of the power of witchcraft in realizing their success dreams. In connection of the albino killings, witchcraft is the main source of the killings. Unfaithful witchdoctors usually tell their clients about the use of albino body parts in making medicine for them to be rich and successful. This makes the demand of the albino body parts go up and increase the killings.
Those who kill the albinos believe that, the albinos have magical power in the superstition and wichcraft which, the perpetuators apply so as to increase their fortune. These include unmanly gold miners and fishermen in the Lake Zone and people in other businesses elsewhere in the country are trading in the body parts of albinos, including limbs, skin, hair and genitals, which they believe enable them catch more fish or strike huge precious minerals.
Albinos don’t enjoy the right to free movement and residency within the country. They are forced to be Inside their houses, go into exile or look for refuge in different places, in fear of being killed. Fear and lack of security, makes albinos more poor economically and psychologically tortured. Some 57 people with albinism have been murdered in Tanzania in recent years.
This state of insecurity for albinos, inspired me to photograph those who have run from their homes for safety, at Kabanga Disabled Centre, in Kasulu, Kigoma, in a style that I portray their beauty and dignity. I use the FRAME as a statement of « a life in a restricted environment.» They decided themselves on how to hold it.
According to Modest Magere (44), the head of the center, in 2008, the Kasulu District Council, decided that Kabanga Centre should host albinos who free their home for safty following an increase of albino killings in different parts of Kigoma and the neighboring regions. The centre therefore, is provided with night police patrol.
I, personally belive that, the chategorization of a person as beautiful, albinos included, whether on an individual basis or by community concensus, is often based on some combination of inner Beauty, which includes personality, intelligency, grace, politeness, charisma, integrity, and elegance, and outer Beauty, which includes physical factors such as health, youthfulness, facial symetry, and complexion. Albinos are no exceptional to these qualities, and they deserve to be adored as beautful and loved. END.