Albinos: Superstition Killings

I was going through my twitter timeline this evening when I came across something really disturbing. Someone had posted an article from The Big Picture (which is a fantastic website!) about the horrific superstitious killings of albino adults and children in Tanzania and surrounding areas.

These people are being hunted down and mutilated so people can wear their body parts around their necks for good luck and fortune. Witch doctors buy the albino organs off the hunters, in particular their genitals, limbs, breasts, fingers and tongue for a lot of money.  These body parts are made into potions and charms, and the popularity of this has seen an increase in attacks and albino murders around Tanzania.

The area is not only known for killing albinos, but anyone who is believed to be a witch or wizard. Just a rumor can trigger an angry mob to kill a suspect of witchcraft. So, killings associated with superstition are not new in the country especially in rural areas.  Albinos are seen as ‘ghost like’ and therefore there have been reports that graves of albinos have been dug up in the middle of the night in search for these ‘magical’ organs.

Many people in Tanzania — and across Africa, for that matter — believe albinos have magical powers. They stand out, often the lone white face in a black crowd, a result of a genetic condition that impairs normal skin pigmentation and strikes about 1 in 3,000 people here. Tanzanian officials say witch doctors are now marketing albino skin, bones and hair as ingredients in potions that are promised to make people rich.

Here are some beautiful pictures taken by The Big Picture of the terrifying lifestyle of an Albino living in Tanzania.

Albino children take a break on January 25, 2009 in a recreational hall at the Mitindo Primary School for the blind, which has become a rare sanctuary for albino children.(TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

A teenage Tanzanian albino girl sits in the female dormitory at a government-run school for the disabled in Kabanga, in the west of the country near the town of Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika June 5, 2009. The school began to take in albino children late last year after albinos were being killed in Tanzania and neighbouring Burundi by people who allegedly sell their body parts for use in witchcraft. Picture taken June 5. (REUTERS/Alex Wynter/IFRC/Handout)

Neema Kajanja, 28, molds a pot from clay at her grandmother's home in Ukerewe, Tanzania on January 27, 2009, where she and two siblings, both albinos, currently live. Ukerewe, an island on Lake Victoria near the town of Mwanza, is a safe haven compared to other parts of Tanzania where people with albinism now live in fear for their lives as their body parts limbs, internal organs and even hair grow increasingly sought after to be sold for luck potions. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Nine-year-old Amani sits in a recreational hall at the Mitindo Primary School for the blind on January 25, 2009, where he enrolled following the murder of his sibling, five-year-old Mariam Emmanuel, an albino who was murdered and mutilated in February 2008. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

An Albino teenage girl copies notes from a blackboard in her classroom at the Mitindo Primary School for the blind on January 28, 2009 in Tanzania. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

For more information: The ABC News:Journey to Tanzania: Reporter Exposes Epidemic of Albino Killings

Some BEAUTIFUL pictures of albinism from all over the world.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Beth on March 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    this is so sad….those poor peole being killed and mutilated just because they are different


  2. A READER’S COMMENT FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE: Thanks Katrina, I does look like a good website. Can’t believe what goes on sometimes. How sad.


  3. Hi Katrina,

    Thanks so much for posting this informative message in support of awareness and action in this critical issue.
    Since learning about the plight of the albinos in October 2009, as an advocate for at-risk children, I have been campaigning for awareness, safety, and wellbeing for African albino children. What began as a simple awareness campaign, soon blossomed into a full time passion/vision/mission to do my part to help make a difference in their lives. Step, by step, the passion/vision is expanding with new goals upon the horizon.
    My website is in the making, but for now, to learn more, please visit:

    Thank you, and blessings,

    Save the Albino Children of Africa (STACOA)


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