The hunted - albinos - PhMuseum

The hunted - albinos

Daniel Rodrigues

2016

Malawi

"Albino doesn't die, only disappear", this phrase has never made much sense as now. Some say it is the fault of healers, other organ trafficking mafia. But the truth is that the lack of information is the main culprit of the problems. People believe in the prophecy that says that if you have a piece of albinism carrier body (hands, feet or head) you'll have luck or money in life.

Since the end of 2014 albinos of Mozambique and Malawi have suffered several problems since kidnappings, murders, vandalized graves and a lot of discrimination. It all started in the country that borders the two countries, Tanzania. It is known that people with albinism people have suffered many problems in that area of Africa but cases started in Mozambique and Malawi after the Tanzanian government have done an outreach work and information that did reduce the problems, but on the other hand, increase the persecution of albinos in neighboring countries.

The albinos are called "money" or “bolada” (Business expression in Mozambique). Mozambique already has dozens of cases of kidnappings or murders reported in the last two years and the problems may have moved south geographically into the country. There have been recente in Massinga, Inhambane (case in 03-31-2017). In the case of Malawi there has already been more than 100 cases reported since January 2015 in a country has about 4,000 albinos. Police records show that 19 people with albinism have been killed since 2014, along with about 100 cases of abductions and attempted abductions. Mozambique has about one albino for every 16,000 inhabitants and has reported about almost 50 cases. Official data provided by the Government indicate that since 2015, some 47 albinos have been targets of attacks in Mozambique.

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  • Eva Robert, 4 years old is a child living in Tete district.
    Eva and Marco, her brother, and two other children from the neighborhood are leaving to go to school because of the problems that have happened to albinos in the region. Parents have pride in them but live in constant fear. They expect the government starts taking measures to protect them so that children can have a normal and quiet life when they grow up.

  • Harrison Molcoshomi, 9 years old, continues to ask for his twin brother who was kidnapped one night in February 2015 when the two of them were at home sleeping with their mother in the village of Mpalcati, in Machinga district. Two men entered the house and attacked their mother with a knife and she was only able to protect one of her children. Edna, who now lives in fear, does not let Harrison go out or even go to school because she thinks that the kidnappers are from that area.
    she never moved away from her area of residence because she fears the things that happen to albinos.
    Many cases happen overnight where the kidnappers enter the albinos's houses while they are sleeping.

  • Flávia Pinto, 31 years old, saw the grave of her late father, Jose Manuel Pinto, be vandalized on May 13th 2017 in Tete after he died of diabetes in July 2015. Vandalizing the graves of albinos has been a recurrent practice in Mozambique or Malawi. The graves are vandalized to extract the remains of the albinos, in the case of Jose Manuel, the legs and arms were taken. Flavia does not know who vandalized the grave of her father but she believes that is because of the crazy people who creates stories to enrich from the albinos and that it is the fault of healers and black magic.
    Flavia speaks about her father with pride. He was a person with a good heart and with many friends and, even though he was always discriminated, he was privileged to already be adult when trouble with the albinos started happening in Mozambique.

  • Mina Godfrey, 11 years old, is a very brave albino who lives in the village of Ngowe, Machinga District. In December 2014, she was kidnapped at night by his own uncle and two friends but with courage she escaped from her captors and run to a nearby village. Her uncle, who was later arrested, is now serving two years in prison after confessing that he was trying to sell Mina for 3 million Malawians ($ 4,200). After the kidnapping, Mina managed to find a host family that today protects her against all the problems that have happened against albinos in Malawi and especially in the small villages. However, Mina's adoptive mother recognizes that taking care of an albino is a difficult job and that she is afraid that someone might abduct Mina, so she does everything she can to protect her.

  • Chiamwemwe Austin, 4 years old, lives with his parents in Kawondo neighborhood in Lilongwe District and since April 20 2016 she stopped going to school because her parents are living in fear after a girl from the neighborhood tried to sell Chiamwemwe for about 2 million Malawians. Fear is everywhere and the family is considering moving to another area of the city because they can not come back to their home village because they do not trust the child's uncle that has already poisoned and killed his mother (grandmother), she was also albino. A fact that is seen quite often in Malawi and Mozambique is that albinos are attacked by relatives.

  • Chiamwemwe Austin, 4 years old, lives with his parents in Kawondo neighborhood in Lilongwe District and since April 20 2016 she stopped going to school because her parents are living in fear after a girl from the neighborhood tried to sell Chiamwemwe for about 2 million Malawians. Fear is everywhere and the family is considering moving to another area of the city because they can not come back to their home village because they do not trust the child's uncle that has already poisoned and killed his mother (grandmother), she was also albino. A fact that is seen quite often in Malawi and Mozambique is that albinos are attacked by relatives.

  • Yohane Kanwendo, 24 years old, lives in the area 22 in Lilongwe. On July 27, 2015, a stranger approached him in the street offering employment in a grocery store and he accepted. He didn’t know that it was going to be the worst day of his life. After a lunch that seemed harmless, Yohane entered the man's car, which headed towards the border with Zambia. After crossing the border, the man took him to a house with many dead albinos inside. Startled, not knowing where he was, thinking that his life was almost over, another man appeared and gave him money to escape. Today he is still afraid and he doesn't leave his home zone. Many albinos are lured with job offers because there is a lot of discrimination and many of them cannot get jobs. © Daniel Rodrigues, Finalist, LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017.

  • Licila Mansagano, 13 years old, living in the outskirts of Lilongwe. She and her sister Teresa, they had to change their ways of living after last June where Teresa and Licilia were followed by a man who called money. Angry, they say she is human. Neither them walk alone and the mother goes every day with the sister to school for fear of being abducted. Play? Only just in front of the house! And parents always present. They liked to have a normal life like other children and do not live in constant fear.

  • Licila Mansagano, 13 years old, living in the outskirts of Lilongwe. She and her sister Teresa, they had to change their ways of living after last June where Teresa and Licilia were followed by a man who called money. Angry, they say she is human. Neither them walk alone and the mother goes every day with the sister to school for fear of being abducted. Play? Only just in front of the house! And parents always present. They liked to have a normal life like other children and do not live in constant fear.

  • Peter Chirwa, from Mphamba village in the Nkhotakota District, 26 years old, is one of the serious cases of discrimination in Malawi. Three years ago he was diagnosed with a tumor but he doesn’t get any treatment or help from the hospital in Nkhotakota for being albino. The lack of money does not allow him to go to the Lilongwe hospital where he could be treated even "if just to take away the horrible pain", says Peter. His medical condition is getting worse and his skin is even beginning to rot due to the lack of treatment. To avoid making the situation worse, Peter spends his days inside of the house. Unfortunately cases of discrimination in Malawi and Mozambique are a lot and albinos ask for help with organized events, and try to show the society that they are human beings.

  • Electerio Joao, 23 years old, lives in Namina, Nampula, and is one of many cases in which the relatives are the ones who abduct and try to sell to make some money. In October 2015, his brother in law called him to help him make a "work and earn money" and he eventually was kidnapped. After the kidnapping the brother in law and three friends went to the side of the national road and tried to find a buyer for Electerio. Fortunately the information reached the police who posed as buyer and ended up arresting three of the four kidnappers. It was the first situation that the police could catch people red-handed.

  • Electerio Joao, 23 years old, lives in Namina, Nampula, and is one of many cases in which the relatives are the ones who abduct and try to sell to make some money. In October 2015, his brother in law called him to help him make a "work and earn money" and he eventually was kidnapped. After the kidnapping the brother in law and three friends went to the side of the national road and tried to find a buyer for Electerio. Fortunately the information reached the police who posed as buyer and ended up arresting three of the four kidnappers. It was the first situation that the police could catch people red-handed.

  • Ricardo Carlitos, Nampula, 23 years old, is primary teacher and father, he says that albinos are being hunted like animals and feels bad about being discriminated against for being an albino. He is proud to be albino but lives in fear because of the current situation and for the many cases of Mozambique have happened in Nampula. Besides that, Elidia Carlitos, sister of Ricardo, on September 7 2015 was also a victim of kidnapping and murder. It turned out to be raped, kidnapped and killed by three kidnappers. Either Ricardo and Mauricio, her brothers, although one of the abductors has been caught with the part of the bone after three days, think that those who planned the attack was coined himself, the husband of elidia, who at the time of the abduction he was not in home and his family bought a new car.

  • Ricardo Carlitos, Nampula, 23 years old, is primary teacher and father, he says that albinos are being hunted like animals and feels bad about being discriminated against for being an albino. He is proud to be albino but lives in fear because of the current situation and for the many cases of Mozambique have happened in Nampula. Besides that, Elidia Carlitos, sister of Ricardo, on September 7 2015 was also a victim of kidnapping and murder. It turned out to be raped, kidnapped and killed by three kidnappers. Either Ricardo and Mauricio, her brothers, although one of the abductors has been caught with the part of the bone after three days, think that those who planned the attack was coined himself, the husband of elidia, who at the time of the abduction he was not in home and his family bought a new car.


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