Albino United -Africa and the world at large indeed have so much to thank our 21st century for. From creating awareness for the acceptance of persons living with albinism to organizing beauty pageants to support the movement; Africans can boldly say they have further taken significant steps towards dispelling the obnoxious myths.
From rickety goal posts and local matches, Tanzania’s first Albino football team -Albino United, have become significantly involved in football nationally and internationally. The team has been training with Everton as part of their fightback against dangerous prejudice.
The unique club was formed by Oscar Haule a Tanzanian businessman who wanted his vision for albinos materialized. It is important to note that Mr Haule is not an albino. Seeing the prevailing rate of discrimination and segregation towards albinos in the country, he came up with the initiative -a move aimed at making the world recognize that albinos are just like everybody else.
And what better way to prove that if not through the most popular sports enjoyed and touted across the globe? The Albino football team initially called Albino Magic Team was formed. The name, however, was later changed to Albino United. The former was scrapped because it indirectly promoted the unwanted perception that albinos have supernatural and magical powers, contributing to their killings.
With various sponsorship, the team has made their voices heard in so many ways.
In Tanzania where albinos are killed because of traditional witchcraft beliefs, Albino United has become a national phenomenon, proving to the masses that albinos are not only good footballers but that they are humans in their own right.
Albino United Meet With Everton FC
As part of their fightback against dangerous prejudice, Albino United has made contacts with prestigious English club Everton FC. The English team visited Tanzania’s Abino United earlier in July, in Dar es Salaam. Three players from the team; Muhamed Besic, Michael Keane and Tom Davies were called in at the Uhuru Stadium to take part in a training session.
During the activity, the Blues trio got involved in some passing drills and a small football session. They also found out more about the Albino team’s successes and the players’ individual backgrounds before presenting them with the 2017/18 Everton away shirt, which was recently unveiled.
— SportPesa (@SportPesa) July 12, 2017
This interaction is hoped to pave way for more international recognition for the team. Football not only offers exposure for albinos but is a rare tool to undermine the limitations imposed upon them.
Albinism in humans is a congenital disorder which is characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. Regardless of their race, they have no complexion due to the pigment defect. More so, because their skin and eyes are very sensitive to sunlight, albinos have to avoid it as much as possible.
In Several countries in Southern and Eastern Africa, albinos are often stigmatized. In some parts of Tanzania, albinos are hunted down for ritual killings as there is the belief that their body parts bring wealth and luck for rituals.
An instance, you will find below…
Albinos as young as six months old are still murdered till date in the East African country. In some cases, victims can be kidnapped and then disjointed by hired killers, or even sold by dubious family members, with body parts fetching lots of money.
There have been recent cases in the country, where some albinos have been attacked with machetes and their limbs cut off while alive. According to Albinism groups, more than 90% of people with the condition in Africa die before they reach 40-years-old.
These obnoxious beliefs were what led to the Albino United initiative.