People with albinism march for skin cancer awareness

Sunscreens are available free at state hospitals for people with albinism

Members of the National Albinism Society in Amajuba march to promote skin cancer awareness in Osizweni, Newcastle.
Image: Sibusiso Mdlalose

Members of the National Albinism Society (NAS) in Amajuba marched in Osizweni township, Newcastle, last week, as part of skin cancer awareness month.

Smanga Kunene, NAS co-ordinator in Amajuba, said the organisation had lost two of its members to skin cancer this year and another was ill in hospital. He said sunscreen lotions were now freely available at state hospitals for people with albinism who had registered for a skin lotion supply.

“We are urging everyone who is living with albinism in our communities to avoid a danger of exposing themselves to this scorching sun, especially during this season of the year. Make sure that you wear hats and use sunscreens,” said Kunene.

NAS member Buhle Mofokeng, of Osizweni township, said she was a cancer survivor. “Luckily, cancer was still at a very early stage in my body, thus it was treated successfully. Now I am feeling well and better.

“We face discrimination in the workplace and most of us are still struggling to get jobs, despite having proper educational qualifications,” she said, adding that she wanted government to acknowledge albinism in its hiring policies.

Amajuba district municipality mayor Dr Musa Ngubane said: “We are prepared to support development programmes, especially those that are aimed to empower members of the community living with disability, including albinism.”

Hezekiel Mokhashana, NAS committee member, said: “We are very disappointed that the traditional healers have not shown up, despite having been invited to this event, aimed at not only raising awareness about skin cancer, but also awareness about superstitious and false beliefs that lead to killings of people living with albinism, perpetrated by some of the so-called traditional healers for their muthi purposes.”

  • This article was originally published by GroundUp.




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