South Africa: Call for End to Albino Killings
By Naledi Shange, News24
There were no statistics detailing the number of people living with albinism or those who had gone missing or been killed in South Africa, Nomasonto Mazibuko, chairperson of the Albinism Society of SA said on Thursday.
Mazibuko was speaking at the CRL Rights Commission offices in Johannesburg where it was announced that the commission had entered into an agreement with the Albinism Society of SA to help educate and tackle the crimes committed against people who have albinism.
Albinism Society of SA had approached the commission for the promotion and protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic communities to add weight to their plight following the brutal murder of Thandazile Mpunza.
The 20-year-old woman who had albinism was found killed and dismembered in Manguzi, KwaZulu-Natal last month.
Myths about people with albinism
It was believed to be a muti-killing.
“This one is unique because the corpse of the person was found,” said Mazibuko.
She explained that there was a myth that people with albinism never died but in fact disappeared.
The discovery of Mpunza’s body however was proof that some people with albinism were in fact killed and stripped of their body parts for muti. Mazibuko explained that some people believed that possessing some body parts of albinos would make them rich.
“Thandazile’s life will not be lost in vein,” said Mazibuko, adding that she wanted to allay the fears of all albino people in the country.
Mpunza was reported missing by her family on August 5. Her remains were found in a shallow grave after some of the suspects confessed and led the police to the shocking discovery on August 16.
Five people, including Mpunza’s boyfriend, a pastor and a traditional healer had since been arrested for her murder.
They appeared in court last month and the case was postponed to October 13.
Spokesperson for the CRL, Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva said they would be in court next week and were expecting to receive answers, particularly from the pastor implicated in the case.
‘Don’t hide behind culture, religion’
She said that the CRL would embark on campaigns in KwaZulu-Natal and where they hoped to be joined by traditional healers, pastors who were against killing for muti.
“We are going to be saying don’t do this and hide behind culture and religion. If you are a criminal, don’t hide behind culture and religion,” Mkhwanazi-Xalavu said.
She claimed things such as the muti killings were turning culture into a joke.
The Zulu queen, Ndlunkulu Nompumelelo Zulu, who was also present for the proceedings, highlighted that her people were also against killings of albino people.
“People are not vanishing. They are killing them. As the royal house, we say South Africa stop it. We all have the right to live,” she said.