Message of support delivered by Deputy Minister Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi on the occasion of the awareness campaign about the attacks,stigma and discrimination experienced by people with albinism at freedom park, pretoria

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31 May 2016

Programme director

Deputy Minister of Social Development: Ms Hendrietta Bogapane-Zulu;

Her Excellency the High Commissioner from Nigeria, Ms UJ Ajuju-Okeke;

Chairperson of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Rights of the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Ms Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva;

Chairperson of Albinism Society of South Africa, Ms Nomasonto Mazibuko;

Chairperson of CONTRALESA, Prince Manene Tabane;

Traditional healers present

Fellow Africans

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Good morning

 

Today marks the culmination of Africa Month. This year’s theme is: “Building a Better Africa and a Better World”.

 

The month of May has been dedicated as Africa Month to celebrate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963, which is now called African Union (AU).

 

Africa Month celebration is a festival of ideas and cultural exchanges which was inaugurated last year with the aim amongst others to entrench our African identity.

 

 

The founding of the OAU is celebrated and commemorated by Africans regardless of their whereabouts or situation and they celebrate with the notion of African unity and renaissance.

 

South Africans together with their counterparts from the continent and those in the Diaspora participate in music, poetry, dance, film, craft and design, cuisine, fashion and intellectual engagements.

 

These celebrations are geared towards assisting Africans (including our brothers and sisters with Albinism) to understand each other both on the continent and in the diaspora.

 

The awareness campaign about the attacks, stigma and discrimination experienced by people with albinism, which is spearheaded by the CRL Rights Commission, presents all Africans with a platform to reflect on the violation of the people with Albinism.

 

Africa should rise against the inhumane treatment meted out to our brothers and sisters with Albinism. No child of Africa should fear for their lives because they are born with Albinism.

 

Allow me at this juncture to read a poem that was written by a young South African with Albinism, Boitumelo Mainganya, popularly known as Gaddafi the Poet.

 

The poem reads…I quote

 

Matters of the heart

Life is hard

Matters of the heart

Praying for cage-less lives

I have been working hard

 

 

It is hard to be me living under this skin condition, my upbringing was rooted and embedded by uninformed myths escalating within the societal bliss, doing as they please and wish forgetting that I am a human being.

 

I got dissed and teased which really dismantled my self-esteem and ever since, ever since I have never had peace, put yourself in my shoes and wonder how you would have coped being called a thing.

 

Rich kids believed that I was a product of a witch, having to live and mingle with something they have never seen, do you blame them?

 

Well I  don’t even old people still believe in the same thing, you find mothers in the streets turning around when they see me and say sies and spits on their chest avoiding to give birth to white kids, kanti where was I supposed to live? Canned in tins?

 

It is painful to see more and more people living with albinism being treated like trash as if we don’t belong to the mother-earth but I like a struggle soldier tie my boots so tight because the journey haven’t started yet.

 

I will fight them till the end because I don’t mind being in prison cell if that’s the price I have to pay for my self-worth. I value myself because I was not far-fetched my mother gave birth, why do we face killings and death?

 

I blame the educational system for failing to teach the kids about albinism, they left the matter unattended and neglected watering the seeds of racism and the roots of prejudice.

 

Mentally I am schizophrenic, heart torn and soul lost as I wrote this and my lips and eyes are dry craving for peace within communities.

 

 

They say united we stand divided we fall but how do I unite knowing that somewhere in Tanzania I have got a price tag? 

 

I raise my fist for young and old heroes and heroines slaughtered for ancestral works, they never cared about their dreams, ambitions and determinations the government turned a blind eye providing their families with black body bags and I carry the burden on my bag calling upon for societal help to help reduce more suicidal curse.

 

They preach social inclusivity within their communities, proving the fact that I am not integrated amongst their society.

 

Defined the word Albino as an animal in their dictionaries, placing a permanent mind-set about my sense of being in the minds of individuals, intellectuals and dignitaries.

I said a mouthful, what’s left is for all the secretaries to note down the word and deliver it to their higher authorities because,

Life is hard

Matters of the heart

Praying for cage-less lives

I have been working hard

 

 

Unquote.

 

Let us all embrace each other sons and daughters of Africa as we strive to realise the aspirations for ‘Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want’

 

God bless Africa.

 

I thank you.