You Can Make A Million Bucks Selling Albino Children To Traditional Healers
Story from: 2oceansvibe.com
The other day I was chatting to a friend of mine in the U.S., the two of us trading jibes about whether we’d rather have Donald Trump or Jacob Zuma as our president.
As I mocked Trump and pointed out his many follies, landing a few body blows to the people of America along the way, my friend had a pretty decent comeback.
He jokingly asked if South Africa still has a burgeoning trade in albino body parts, and that pretty much laid waste to my chirps.
Because whilst it doesn’t seem to be talked about that often we really do, and when you see the cash flying around it’s impossible not to recoil in horror.
The demand stems from the belief that albino body parts, when mixed with muti, can cure illness or even bring good fortune.
The Daily Vox recently wrote a piece about it, spurred on by the disappearance of four-year-old albino child Maneliswa Ntombela in KZN. He remains missing, and the family are bracing themselves for the worst:
It is feared that Maneliswa may have been abducted for use in muti rituals.
The Albinism Society of South Africa’s chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Bhekisisa Thabethe, says that the KwaZulu-Natal province has the highest prevalence of disappearances for people with albinism.
“So far we have one confirmed incident of someone who was killed, a woman from Manguzi who was killed. I can’t really say that the killings are common because usually when people go missing sometimes their whereabouts are often undiscovered, hence we cannot confirm their murders,” Thabethe said…
Maneliswa’s disappearance is far from an anomaly, with the KZN province at the centre of it all:
In 2014, a 14-year-old boy, Sibusiso Nhatave went missing on his way back from school and he was never seen again. In August 2015, a 20-year-old woman with albinism, Thandazile Mpunza, from Manguzi, northern KwaZulu-Natal, was killed and dismembered for muti.
The superstition and stigma associated with albinism has left those with the condition feeling isolated and excluded.
While the search for a four-year-old Ntombela from Isikhawini continues, the Empangeni Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit has arrested a 28-year-old woman who was allegedly arranging to sell children with albinism to a traditional healer.
She had arranged to sell one child for R100 000 to a renowned community healer and has been charged with human trafficking.
R100 000 is quite the carrot to dangle in a province where so many live in poverty, but what a damning indictment on the society we live in. Not that the problem is restricted to South Africa, as a TimesLive story from March of last year made clear:
“We are hunted like animals,” said APAM [Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi ] president Boniface Massah, who campaigns for the rights of Malawi’s 10,000 albinos.
The body parts are often believed to be sold in neighbouring Tanzania, where more than 70 albinos have been killed since 2000.
Tanzanian authorities announced in January that they would crack down on the gruesome trade. They banned the activities of witch doctors who promise to bring clients good luck and fortune to prevent them from making ritual use of albino body parts.
While the practice is condemned by the overwhelming majority of traditional healers, a lucrative black market exists for the body parts said to possess magical powers.
A set of albino body parts – including hands and feet, genitals, ears, tongue and nose – sold for $75,000 in Dar es Salaam recently, according to Tanzanian police.
$75 000 translates to over R1 million – and we know that when numbers like that are thrown around better judgement is often quickly tossed aside.
I don’t know what the solution is, or where to even begin, but when this is still happening in 2016 it’s rather tough to stomach.
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