Fight­ing the stigma of al­binism


THE deputy chair­per­son of the Al­binism So­ci­ety of KwaZulu-Natal (ASKN) was hon­oured yes­ter­day with three sym­bolic gifts at a func­tion at the Dur­ban City Hall to com­mem­o­rate In­ter­na­tional Al­binism Aware­ness Day.

One of the gifts was a plas­tic plate. When she was grow­ing up, Thembi Mad­lala had to eat out­side – and off the same plas­tic plate as their dog. The dis­crim­i­na­tion from her fam­ily and oth­ers en­cour­aged her to form and join sup­port groups, which led to ASKN’s for­ma­tion.

It has been five years since the UN de­clared al­binism a dis­abil­ity.

Maxwell Kub­heka, ASKN’s chair­per­son and host of the event, said he was de­lighted to be com­mem­o­rat­ing the five years since the dec­la­ra­tion. “Be­fore June 13, 2013, we had no iden­tity. We did not know where we be­longed, but now we do.”

Mad­lala was hon­oured for her role in the fight against vi­o­lence against al­bi­nos. The other gifts she re­ceived were a tro­phy and a mi­crowave.

Kub­heka said the tro­phy sym­bol­ised Mad­lala who built her­self up to be a win­ner. The mi­crowave was for her fam­ily to heat their food.

Peo­ple with al­binism face var­i­ous chal­lenges with eye­sight and hear­ing. They also can­not be ex­posed to the sun with­out pro­tec­tion.

Also at the func­tion was 73-year-old An­drisina Kub­heka of Ix­opo. She said: “Peo­ple dis­crim­i­nated against me. They would point fin­gers and some even felt sorry for me. (But) my fam­ily were sup­port­ive.”

She urged the youth, es­pe­cially those with al­binism, to com­plete their ed­u­ca­tion.

A sum­mit to dis­cuss is­sues still faced by peo­ple liv­ing with al­binism takes place at the Gar­den Court Ho­tel un­til to­mor­row.


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