A photographer named Patricia Willocq decided to create a photo essay called “Black Ebony” in order to try and raise awareness to albinism. She wanted people to know that albinism was a congenital condition where a person was unable to produce the typical pigmentation of skin, hair and eyes that resulted in them having far colored skin and a high sensitivity to light.
Patricia was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo and explains the discrimination and violence towards albinos. She tells us that in certain parts of Africa, the people who were born with albinism endured violence on them from superstitious beliefs that some people lived with.
The african healers or “witch doctors” believed that the albino person possessed magical powers that could result in a demand for their body or body parts to be used in amulet so potions.
This belief resulted in an albino person’s death, abductions and grave robbing of an albino person.
Patricia said, “This photo report is a testimony of hope, courage, love and success to give them the dignity they deserve. It can hopefully be used to promote understanding and tolerance toward people with albinism in the Congo and in the rest of Africa.”
Last week, June 16 marked the second annual International Albinism Awareness Day, that was set-up to shine light on the violence and to try help bring an ending to it.
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “This has led to attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism, and even to the theft of their bodies from graveyards.”
And he also said, ” I call on all countries and stakeholders to recognize that human rights apply to all people everywhere, including people with albinism.”
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