Imagine being hunted for your body parts, by those who would carry them as lucky charms. If you lived in Tanzania, and had albinism, this could be your reality.
I was stunned by the news of horrific albino slayings sometime last week. The chilling nature of these events inspired me to start writing a short story based, in part, on the terrors of being a Tanzanian albino. To this day, these people are being hunted for their body parts. Their organs, especially the genitals, limbs, breasts, fingers and tongue, are sold to witchdoctors for a substantial sum. These parts are then used in the making of potions and good luck charms, which are believed to bring about prosperity of the buyers. In recent years, these items are experiencing a surge in popularity, particularly among miners and fishermen, leading to a massive outbreak of attacks and albino murders in Tanzania and neighboring countries.
It seems that albinos, with their conspicuous and unusual appearance, are considered mystical, ‘ghostlike’ beings in Tanzania, and are often suspected of witchcraft by the rural populace. Nonetheless I find it hard to believe that so many people are willing to purchase the body parts of slain human beings in some kind of superstitious ‘get rich quick’ scheme. This speaks volumes on the terrible greed of humanity. Fortunately, this sort of thing is rare enough to shock and horrify most of the world.
If you’d like more information on this crisis, here are some links to news stories: