Nearly 200 members of the community attended the 2nd Annual Albinism Conference which was hosted by the eThekwini Municipality in partnership with the Albinism Society of South Africa (ASSA). Speakers encouraged members of the community to accept and treat people living with albinism with love, dignity and respect.
The conference was aimed at educating the community about the myths and superstitions surrounding albinism.

The Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo said that he is proud to be part of this celebration, as ASSA was also celebrating 21 years since it was founded. He further said that discrimination against people living with albinism will never be tolerated and the myths that come along with it should be eradicated. “God never makes a mistake. We are all here for a reason and we are all the way God wanted us to be,” he said, adding that people living with albinism should never feel ashamed as they are an integral part of society and a part of our heritage. “We have agreed with the Municipal management that going forward this conference will be held in September as part of Heritage Month Celebrations,” he added
Dr Nokubonga Khoza, a dermatologist from King Edward VIII Hospital, took the opportunity to educate members of the community about the importance of skin care, particularly for people with albinism as their skin is sensitive. “Albinism is merely a condition that is caused by a lack of pigmentation and results in one being vulnerable and sensitive to the sunrays.” She said that the condition required treatment from birth until death and it is important for people living with it to understand and know the signs that could lead to skin cancer.”

Nontobeko Khumalo, a mother of three-year-old Nomnotho who is living with albinism said that mothers should accept their children’s condition and love them unconditionally. “I personally believe that I was chosen by God to take care of my child’s special needs and I do not see her as different from any other children.” She encouraged other families to love and protect their loved ones living with albinism as they experience a lot of discrimination from the outside world.

The Chairperson of the Community and Emergency Services Committee, Cllr Zandile Gumede told members of the community that the government was working on legislation that will allow people living with albinism to access social grants. She emphasized that this money was meant to assist them in buying special products for their basic needs. It is by no means an indication that they are disabled as they are fully functional and able to work as any other person. “We love you very much as our brothers and sisters. Our doors are always open to share ideas and make enquiries about anything that might be of concern.”
 
 
 
For more information contact the Municipal Spokesman, Mr Thabo Mofokeng, on 031 311 4820 or 082 731 7456 or e-mail thabo1.mofokeng@durban.gov.za.
 
Issued by the Communications Unit, contact Vuyo Gwala on (031) 311 4838 or 072 250 5407 or email vuyo.gwala@durban.gov.za or Bongiwe Nakasa 031 311 4846/073 7896 827 bongiwe.nakasa@durban.gov.za