Welcome to Ukerewe Island, surrounded by the Lake Victoria in Tanzania Where there is a large community of people living with albinism, many of whom were abandoned on the island by their families as children.
In Tanzania, Ritual Killings of Albinos are not unheard of, as it is believed that Albino body parts bring Wealth and Good Fortune. A New documentary titled “In the Shadows of the Sun” attempts to expose the maltreatment of Albinos in Tanzania.
The Independent Film directed by British Director Harry Freeland is centered around two people with Albinism in Tanzania and follows them as they try to deal with the prejudice and fear of being an Albino in Tanzania.
According to the director, the motivation to do the film came when he met a Senegalese woman.
“A woman approached me in the street, held out her child and said ‘here, take it back, where it comes from,” says Freeland. “She had a child with albinism and because I’m white, she thought the child belonged to me in some way — her husband had left her for having a white child and accused her of sleeping with a white man.”
Josephat Torner is one of the main characters in this film, as an activist he has been traveling around Tanzania to quench the misconceptions on Albinos in Tanzania; he believes the best way to stop this is by getting to the witch doctors first as they have a major influence on rural Tanzania.
People with albinism are born with genes that do not make the normal amounts of the pigment called melanin. Melanin is what determines skin colour, Dark skinned people have more melanin than Light-skinned people. The Lighter you are, the less melanin you have. Those born with the Albinism have little or no melanin in their genes.