Kenya and Zimbabwe have made their mark on the world map as the only African countries to celebrate the beauty of albinos. These two countries have organised Miss Albino beauty pageant, despite difficulty in getting sponsorship.
Kenya was the first to organise Miss Albino beauty contest and that was in 2016. In fact, Kenya actually held Mr. and Miss Albino contest.
Zimbabwe followed in March 2018 with Miss Albino contest. It was huge, though lack of sponsorship almost marred the event. The winner of that contest, Sithembiso Mutukura, was given $85 as prize payout.
So why is it that no such contest has been held in Nigeria? Is it that the numerous organisations in the country that organize beauty pageants have never thought about this?
Albinism is a rare genetic condition where the pigment from the hair, skin and eyes is absent, also making the person legally blind in sunlight.
Albinism is a challenge in Africa which requires several strategies including beauty pageantry to address the stigma on albinos. Many African countries have a dark relationship with albinism – a genetic disorder inherited from parents who both carry a faulty gene that prevents the skin from making melanin properly and thereby giving it colour. Albinos are hunted down in some African countries by witch doctors for their body parts which are used in potions to bring good luck or riches, reports News24. Some are even kidnapped and sold by relatives out to make fast money.
But pageants can be used to inspire albinos towards brighter future. According to Miss Albino Zimbabwe, Queen Mutukura, she entered the pageant to raise awareness.
“The people with disabilities are always looked down upon even in schools. I have gone through a lot but I want people living with albinism to be brave and persevere in life,” the social work student at the University of Zimbabwe told AFP after winning the crown.
There is need to follow the part of Kenya and Zimbabwe in celebrate albinos through beauty contests. This is a sure way of getting rid of the stigma against albinism.