The Fetishization of Albinos in Tanzania
From abstract: "While rumors of organ stealing and the efficaciousness of albino body parts have been going on for a long time in Tanzania, there seems to be a recent spike in the killing of albinos. These killings are an intensification of an old story that began in pre-colonial Central Africa. People materialize and utilize fetishized notions of the productive magic of albino body parts. The consumption of magical paraphernalia supposedly made from albinos’ bodies is imagined to counteract the decline of the fishing industry. The story of albino killings is about the fantastic speculation of value, and this value supports the localized economy. This illustrates the desire to create and sustain specific market commodities out of albino body parts. Some say this is a story about the economy, the neoliberal, or a functionalist explanation of albino killings. Others suspect this is ultimately a story of the cumulative effects of the circulation of rumor and discourse. These contrasting views are woven to tell the story of alleged albino killings while presenting an alternative interpretation, which suggests that Tanzanian elite utilize these rumors to gather social authority and political legitimacy while benefitting from the moral hierarchy of modernity versus tradition.
Caroline Ackley
Albino, killings, myths, Tanzania, economics

UTSS Latest News

November 26th, 2019
Watershed judgement on Mariam Stafford's case has vital lessons
November 26th, 2019
UN panel tells government to compensate woman with albinism
July 03rd, 2019
Killers of persons with albinism in Malawi are now being charged with genocide.
January 03rd, 2019
Man with Albinism Brutally Murdered in Malawi on New Years Eve
January 03rd, 2019
PWA's in Malawi Begin 2019 With Fear of Renewed Attacks
November 16th, 2018
People With Albinism Struggle to Access Crucial Treatment and Support in Iran
A recent speech by a UN official calling on countries with hot climates to implement measures that would enable people with albinism to access skin cancer treatments has highlighted the lack of such a policy and accessible support for people living with albinism in Iran.
May 04th, 2018
The Times
The president of Malawi has called for a debate on introducing the death penalty for “albino hunters” after the most recent case of a victim being killed for his body parts.
February 20th, 2018
Ikponwosa Ero named one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2017.
Ikponwosa Ero, UTSS staff member and UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism, has been named one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2017.
February 20th, 2018
Tanzanian children with albinism receive prosthetic limbs and a new lease on life.
ABC News reports on the journey of four children with albinism from Tanzania who recently travelled to the US to receive life changing prosthetic limbs.
November 28th, 2017
Zuwena's Children Face Unspeakable Danger
Learn how Understanding Albinism Seminars helped Zuwena's family.