Someone in the audience said they think twice before dating a person with albinism because what comes to their mind is whether they’ll have the same children in the event of marriage. Whether that preference was out of choice or fear, it was among the many honest contributions to an emotionally charged assembly at Fatuma’s Voice Nairobi last weekend.
Florence Kisombe was not shy. Everyone goggled at her photo in the poster we circulated prior to the event, commenting of her gorgeousness as if never expecting a person with albinism to be just as pretty as any well suited bloke or a beauteous damsel. Her confidence was divine, thanking her parents every now and then for the support they have showed her ever since she learned of her state.
As far as Mozambique, Malawi and neighbouring Tanzania, including Kenya, persons with albinism continue to fall victim to the many myths and misconceptions that surround their condition, endangering and taking their lives. This evening we were killing stereotypes. And while the fairly young audience might have seemed well informed and more liberal to albinism, there was still much to learn. Like you wouldn’t know what it takes to be walking confidently in Nairobi with white skin while in real sense you are black. People ridicule you – that you are worth money, you are a mzungu, they can sell you to get rich and kill you if they want to. You live cautious of time because you want to ensure your safety and you shouldn’t be exposed to the sun so much. That’s not an easy life.
Ruth Kisaka and Kasichana Mumba kept the engaged audience busied with rhetoric, taking up comments and challenging them. Wairimu Ng’aru’s return to the stage after a three year hiatus made the wait worthwhile as she serenaded us with two beautiful songs. Alvin Chesaro, Mary Mugure & her group, Sharleen Rose and Jay PoeTree all gave us memorable tunes and poetry to take home.
As the world marked the 2016 International Albinism Awareness Day on June 13th, perhaps we should purpose more to inscribe Miss Kisombe’s words in our hearts; “I have emotions just like anyone else. I fall in love like you do.”
All Pictures: Albinism in Kenya with Florence Kisombe
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