Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Africans with albinism experience stigma and discrimination as people with white skin in black societies, and as people with disabilities of low vision or blindness and susceptibility to contracting skin cancers. A more recent form of discrimination is attacks against people with albinism, only reported by news media in Tanzania since 2006. Violence in the Great Lakes district appears to be driven by traditional ‘witchdoctors’ and carried out by contract killers to meet a market for albino body parts along an axis of wealth and poverty. This paper discusses how discrimination and violence against people with albinism, especially children, is portrayed in Swahili and English Tanzanian news articles of 2008-2012. A content analysis reveals that coverage is most commonly framed in terms of law enforcement and national shame, reflecting sourcing from court and police reports and politicians’ statements, with some human rights framing. This analysis also shows how people with albinism are portrayed as ‘skin-disabled’, humans with rights and as economic commodities, and their attackers as sub-human and betrayers of the nation. Although such violence is seen as shameful, Tanzanian media provides public space for African people to debate and shape knowledge about the impact of cultural and economic development on disadvantaged persons with albinism.

Document Type

Open Access Conference Paper

Access Rights

Open Access

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