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East African Albinos Face Death Threats and Displacement

Philipp Sandner | DW   in  ·
June 14, 2015

On International Albinism Day (13.06.2015), rights groups are raising awareness of the plights of albinos. In East Africa, albinos are considered outsiders and in Tanzania they face daily threats to their lives.

Mohamed Mabula does not have it easy. He fends for his family with a small bicycle taxi business in Ndembezi, a village in northern Tanzania. Money is always scarce because two of his six children require special protection. Four-year-old Shija and six-year-old Dotto suffer from a skin pigment disorder known as albinism. It’s dangerous to live in Tanzania with this diagnosis.

The reason is superstition stirred by business people and traditional healers. They believe albinos have magical powers. They say special medications can be obtained from their bones. According to experts, body parts of albinos sell for hundreds of euros on the black market and people can be sold dead or alive for up to 65,000 euros. That’s the reason why albinos are often victims of attacks. United Nations figures show that at least 75 albinos have been killed in Tanzania since 2000 – dozens more have been mutilated.


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