This Blog's Guiding Maxim:-

"The person who shies at the possibility of increased responsibilities or at the prospect of future uncertainties is hardly worthy of life itself, for life consists of uncertainties, problems and challenges of various types."

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Under the Same Sun - A site out to fight the cause of the Albinos

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You can contact the blog editor through this e-mail address: (ritchmbuthia at gmail dot com)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Scared and Tormented, Albinos “Pledge” to take Desperate Actions

The albino community in Mwanza has said, in no uncertain terms, that it takes the issue of security of its members very seriously. It said this as the plight of albinos grows gloomier by the day.

Mwanza is the worst hit by the current violence against albinos. This spate of violence is said to be driven by witchcraft beliefs and ignorance. The perpetrators of these cowardly acts (killings, severing parts of the body, exhuming dead albinos etc) believe that albinos have a magical charm that would enable one to be rich.

They believe that this would come to fruition if the albino body parts are used in potions prepared by witchdoctors. It is for this reason that albinos in Tanzania are running wild, fearing for their lives.

The Mwanza albino community says that if no help is brought their way, then they will move to the islands in Lake Victoria. They say all of them will go and start new lives there. At least the risks facing them will have been reduced by half, they say.


A certain family in Mwanza decided to bury their young albino daughter in the room of her grandfather. She was hacked to death when some people entered her room while she was asleep. The rest of the family was fast asleep then.

The attackers made off with parts of her body probably for witchcraft purposes.

When asked why they decided to bury the young girl inside the house, her grandfather says:

“We buried her in my room, under my bed, to prevent people with witchcraft inclinations from exhuming her body and taking what is left of her. If these people decide to come back to take what remains of her, they will have to fight with me first before they can ever get to her.”

Talk of desperate measures in desperate times for desperate solutions!

See Related Issues:
*Albino killings become police money making machine
*Protect us albinos

Friday, November 21, 2008

Are you really your Brother’s Keeper?

One of the greatest Bible stories that remains deeply etched in my memory is the AbelCain story. It was a favourite of mine when I was in Sunday school many years ago.

This story is to be found in the fourth chapter of Genesis.

In short, Cain killed his brother Abel. And when the Lord asked him, “Where is Abel your brother?” he said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

That is immensely rude and disrespectful of human life. This means that he did not care what had happened to his brother and did not want to be bothered.

Sadly, this is the same kind of attitude some of us have developed when faced with the albino issue in our country. We feel that we are less concerned about what is happening to our brothers and sisters.
We tend to think that the responsibility of minding our own kith and kin (the albino community) is the sole responsibility of some charity groups or the government.

There is something we can never deny. As a community we know the people who are perpetrating acts of violence against this minority group. We know the ones who are “consumers” of albino body parts. We know the ones who are ordering albino killings. We know the witchdoctors who have “albino body parts” as part of their long list of prescriptions.

We know them for they live in our communities – they are our neighbours; they are our relatives.

Why should we condone such cowardly and diabolical acts of violence? We can change everything today. But we must first all realize the importance of being our brothers’ (and sisters’!) keepers.

We must first go back to the basics of valuing human life.

And that’s the bottom line.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yet Another Albino Attack: Ngara Woman’s Hands Chopped off!

The news that an albino woman in Ngara (a district in Tanzania) had her hands chopped off made me numb yesterday (18/11/2008). This albino woman met with the tragedy (no, the tragedy came to her!) while she was at home with her parents and other family members.

She recounts that she was in one of the houses (her room, I presume) while her parents were in another, when a large group of panga wielding people came and surrounded it. They cordoned off the house to prevent any form of rescue attempt from anyone in the other houses (rooms!).

With this done, they proceeded to execute their master plan: cutting up the pregnant albino woman, one Mariam Stanford.

They cut off the right arm leaving only a stump at the shoulder. Mariam shouted for help but the other members of the family could not come to her rescue. The machete wielding men prevented them from getting out of their rooms. She was as if in an island.

They tried to cut off the left arm but left before they had completely hewn it off.

Mariam was in utter pain and shock when help came. She was rushed to hospital where after some deliberation, the left arm, which had been left hanging, was cut off. Judging from the wound and traces on the bone, it was deduced that the pangas used had had rusted blades.

As pictures of Mariam flashed on the TV screen, hot flushes rose up my cheeks and there was an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. The bandaged stumps that hang down her shoulders were (and are) proof that a human being’s worst enemy is none other than himself or herself.

Help Needed

She is asking for someone to help her take care of the unborn baby when it is eventually born for she no longer has hands to hold it. Talk of being stretched to the limit but never giving up hope and vision!

To some people this is just another item that beefs up the statistics of how many albinos have been attacked in Tanzania. But to some others (the wise ones), this is another six-inch nail that has been driven into the society that is Tanzania. We need to claw out the nails before they rust in our bowels.

Is there anyone out there? What do you think should be done about this state of affairs?

Tanzania “importing” Albino body parts? – This is Insane!

It is quite unfortunate that albino killings are continuing unabated, within and without Tanzania, while most of the leaders in our country remain mum over the whole issue.

Killings of albinos within and without Tanzania as reported in the local media, I believe, are just a tip of the ice berg. Many more cases go unreported. That is a matter of common sense.

What you see or hear is not usually as much as what you don’t get to see or hear. Catch the drift!

The recent cases of albinos being killed in Burundi and their body parts being sold to Tanzanians: witch doctors; men and women who believe the drivel of wachawi; gold miners who toy with the idea of striking it rich…and the list continues.

These groups of people believe that the body parts of an albino are the key to a life of abundance. They believe that when these parts pass through the hands of “people in the know” (witch doctors and wizards), and “concoctions” made of “them”, then, the graduation stage is set: graduation to a life free of worry and full of economic bloom.

There are so many things that beat my understanding in this whole issue. I also cannot bring myself to understand how we, as Tanzanians, can change into a country that is given to importing albino body parts for ritual purposes (or for any other reason for that matter!). This shows how low we have sunk as a community.

A community that seems to blatantly and foolishly believe that we can achieve our goals in life without sheer hard work; a community that frowns upon people who are diligent and industrious; a community that has thrown all caution to the winds and does not care two hoots about the values we are passing to our children and coming generations.

We have failed as a society. The million dollar question is:
Where did we miss the mark? And what can be done to remedy the situation before it wreaks even greater havoc?

The answers lie within us. But, sadly, we know not where exactly…

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Albino Killers should be Sought and Prosecuted

News of the catching and prosecution of people who catch and kill albinos have been few and far between. I believe they should be more than they are today (the prosecutions).

The Minister for Home Affairs (Mr. Lawrence Masha) and the president (Mr. Jakaya Kikwete) were seen spitting fire and brimstone condemning the dastardly act of albino killings, evidently irked by the state of affairs. I believe the same vim and vivacity should be reflected in how the perpetrators of the violence against this minority group are handled and prosecuted by people in the high echelons of power in the government. All the Arms of Government should talk against this violence.

For how long are albinos going to live in fear in their own country? For how long will albinos walk around with their heads over their shoulders fearing for the worst? For how long will witch doctors continue asking greedy men and women (greedy for wealth) for albino body parts so as to gain immense wealth?

For how long? For how long? For how…

The government should be at the fore front in fighting this battle for its people.

That is my two cents.

Quote: “In times of peace, staying alive is a choice.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who are Albinos?

You know it is very hard to appreciate something without having enough information about it. In this post, as I promised in the maiden post , we are going to look at who albinos really are.

The first thing I’ll say about them is that albinos are REAL and COMPLETE human beings. They are entitled to every single right that any other “normal” human being is entitled to.

But because of the paleness of their skin, funny-looking hair, squinting eyes and myriad more reasons, some people feel that they are lesser human beings. This is not true.

The basic reason why this blog was set up is to fight the cause of albinos especially in Tanzania. This will go hand in hand with breaking age-old stereotypical and prejudiced thoughts about albinos in our communities.

Let me digress a bit and tell you something about myself in relation to what I am saying here.

My name is Richard. I am not an albino. This blog is the fruit of a harrowing tussle I’ve had in my heart, of late, about the current predicament of albinos in our country, Tanzania. The thought of setting up a blog to speak out for them, albinos, came charging right through my mind like an avalanche whose time to wreak havoc had come. Albinos need you and me to speak out and save them from marauding and importunate witch-doctors. These witch-doctors demand albino body parts from them who need instant wealth. They tell them (the with-doctors to the people) that by getting albino body parts (which, of course, means killing albinos) they will bid farewell to penury and embrace a life replete with wealth. Such is the warped and tattered society you and I are part of!

Let me go back to the gist of my post: Who are albinos?

Albinos are people suffering from albinism. They lack normal melanin pigmentation. The absence of this pigment is observed in the body covering (skin and hair) and in the iris of the eyes. The blood vessels of the retina show through the iris, giving it a pink or reddish color, and the eyes are highly sensitive to light.

Albinism is hereditary; it is not an infectious disease and cannot be transmitted through contact, blood transfusions, or other vectors. The principal gene which results in albinism prevents the body from making the usual amounts of the pigment melanin.

We’ll continue talking more about albinos and what should be done to save them from annihilation!