I will never forget my first meeting with an albino in Africa. We then arrived at one of the tribes in the south of Ethiopia, from those that go almost naked with machine guns and live an ancient way in thatched huts.
And now I go into one of the huts to photograph her “interior”, and from there a completely white blue-eyed guy is looking at me. I was already dumbfounded: “Wow, his mom was taking a walk! It was necessary, wild-wild, and the lady managed to stir up with a rare foreign tourist and give birth to him. ”
But later it turned out that I was completely wrong in my initial assessment in Africa, and a similar picture is not so rare in Africa, when two dark-skinned parents, who did not touch the white, have a white-skinned child with blond hair and eyes.
On average, in Africa, for every 3,000 newborns, one albino child appears. But this is an average. And in Tanzania, in some parts of the country, the number of albinos born is totally unbelievable 1 per 200 people!
The reasons for this phenomenon are by no means connected with white partners of the opposite sex, but in genetics.
Albinism is a hereditary phenomenon, which consists in the absence of pigmentation of the skin, hair and iris. That is, a child with Alnism is born with very pale (and not just light) skin and completely colorless hair. Eyes are light gray, light blue or generally almost colorless from transparent to cloudy.
What makes albinism so common in Africa?
Genetic scientists call the main reason for a high degree of indiring (marriages between relatives with incest due to this).
The fact is that many people in Africa still adhere to a high degree of self-isolation and live in closed communities, especially away from cities. In such settlements, over time, everyone becomes relatives to each other, which greatly affects genetics. Including the number of born white children.
What is the danger to albino children in Africa?
The bad news is that being an albino in Africa is really dangerous. And there are three reasons for this.
The first in banal racism by black peers. African superstitions and poor education are a serious barrier to normal communication with such children. In the best case, they are simply torn away from the environment, in the worst, they are done with the use of violence up to the most serious forms.
The second danger is superstition at the level of shamans and beliefs, which have especially spread in the last 10-15 years in Tanzania. And if everyday superstitions prompt society to expel albinos so that they do not bring misfortune, then shamanistic superstitions “work” in the opposite direction.
Tanzanian, Congolese and other shamans broadcast a belief about the supernatural properties of albinos, and use them in their rituals. Rather, their limbs.
Accordingly, in remote regions of some African countries, albino children are in direct danger of being sold to shamans for their rites, potions and amulets. Which have become very popular in recent years, for example, among ordinary fishermen, pastoralists or farmers who believe only in otherworldly forces and, in any case, crop failure, drought, fire, shallowing of the river or the departure of fish, etc. go to the shamans for help.
The third danger is the sun and cancer.
With an average life expectancy of 50 years in Africa, albinos live up to a maximum of 30. The aggressive African sun does not leave them almost no chance in confronting skin cancer, which sooner or later appears in most of those born here with white skin.
There are no special hospitals for their treatment, and people themselves do not even have the minimum means for treatment and basic prevention.
They don’t even have money for sunscreen …