As an albino, Chanda belongs to a literally visible minority in her society. Her skin is clear white, her hair is blond and her eyes light blue. Africa’s bright sun can be too dazzling for her.
But her challenges transcend the purely physical. Being an albino in such a thoroughly black community can be perilous. In some East African nations, such as Tanzania and Burundi, albinos are sometimes killed in order to satisfy rituals based on superstition. According to one such superstition, if you enter a gold mine wearing a talisman made from an albino’s body, you will find gold. Similarly, if you go fishing and use an albino’s flesh as bait, you will catch a fish that has swallowed gold.
Fortunately for Chanda, the people of her village practice no discrimination against her. Villagers in rural Zambia are characteristically tender folk. For example, more than 16 percent of the population of Zambia has contracted HIV/AIDS. Many children have lost their parents to the disease. But they are cared for by neighbors and relatives, who consider the imperative of mutual support beyond question.
Regarding her future, Chanda said, “I would like to go to the university to learn more about special education. Education is a must (for my students) to make a future for themselves.”
– Courtesy of KeiSATO/studioAFTERMODE