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In the 21 st century people are hunting people

The Ghost
People

Just because they were born different

Documentary movie directed by: Martyna Wojciechowska, Marek Kłosowicz

They’re called zeroo zeroo, ‘ghost people’.

However, in their own country, they are less than people. Tanzania is the worst place in the world to be born with albinism. WHO estimates put the country’s albino population at 300,000. These people are vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancers but the strong African sun is not the only threat they face. The worst danger are other people.

The Tanzanian belief in the magical properties of the albinos leads witch doctors to make potions from their flesh, which are supposed to bring luck and wealth. It’s a lucrative business and the albino people have become prey, with women and children being especially at risk. The only solution of the government is placing albino children in special enclosed facilities.

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In Tanzania, the strong sun is not the only danger albino people face. The real threat is other people.

Albinism is a genetic condition whereby the hair, skin and iris of the sufferer have no pigmentation – they don’t produce melanin. The worst enemy of people with albinism is the sun as they get instantly sunburned and are vulnerable to skin cancers. It is not known why the disease is so frequent in Tanzania; what is known, however, is that a lot of albino people here die before they’re 30. In Tanzania, the strong sun is not the only danger albino people face. The real threat is other people.

The albino hunts in Tanzania started in the 1990s. Officially, seventy-five people were killed and thirty-four mutilated. Off the record, there are no official statistics on the subject and the inhumane practices are being swept under the carpet. Although the punishment for murder in Tanzania is death by hanging, very few convictions for assaulting albinos have been made. The assailants are often neighbours or even family members.

Kabula fell victim to this foul business when she was 12. Five years ago, a few men broke into her house and chopped her arm off with a machete. Kabula wants to become a lawyer and fight for the rights of the albino people. Together with the journalist, she visits her home village for the first time in five years.

Tanzania, Shinyanga

Kabula has lived in an enclosed facility protected by armed guards and barbed-wire fence. It’s the only way Tanzanian government can ensure safety of the albino population. The camp also accommodates women as some Tanzanian men believe that having sex with an albino woman brings luck and riches and may cure them of AIDS.

EMPTINESS
LONELINESS
HOPELESSNESS

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