With September being Albinism Awareness Month, Athenkosi Kwinana, 23, who was born with the condition, is doing what she can to raise awareness by educating people about the myths and stereotypes surrounding people living with albinism.
The Walter Sisulu University (WSU) Fine Arts student, who hails from Mthatha, is creating a research paper that challenges the representation and misinterpretation of the condition in popular culture and the stigmas, traditions and beliefs associated with those living with the condition.
“I created this research paper targeted at those with the condition, parents, teachers and my generation, as we have to revisit what we think about albinism,” she said.
Kwinana has also been doing interviews on radio stations as part of raising awareness.
“The month means a lot to me as it means people are now more aware about the condition.
“Now we won’t be looked on as less human than others. As I feel that at one point certain conditions were more important than others, and now we have a month dedicated to us.
“I also grew up believing that albinism was this wonderful thing because of being different from everyone else. But as I grew up I came to terms with the myths created about people like me,” she said.
Kwinana, whose research paper will follow a production of artworks created by her to be presented at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery in November, this year, she said there were several myths associated with people with albinism in the South African and African community.
“Sleeping with me will not cure Aids and my body parts will not bring you success.
“It is shocking that this discrimination comes from our elders, the ones who should have knowledge about such issues. It goes to show the evident root of these stigmas and beliefs in the black community,” she said.
South African Police Services (SAPS) SAPS spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said in highlighting the Albinism Awareness Month, the SAPS would embark will be embarking on awareness campaigns across the country about crimes against people living with albinism.
It is shocking that this discrimination comes from our elders, who should have knowledge about such issues