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Born Too White

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Born Too White
Directed byClare Richards
StarringOscar Duke
Narrated byOscar Duke
Dragonfly Film and Television
Release date
Running time
59 minutes

Amazon.com Logo.png Search Born Too White on Amazon.Born Too White is a short documentary that follows Oscar Duke, an NHS doctor who lives with albinism, as he travels through Tanzania in an attempt to discover the reasons behind several violent attacks against albinos in this region.[1] Dr. Duke goes to different parts of Tanzania to hear the stories of multiple albinos that have been attacked and their families. He also examines the quality of life of some of the albinos that live in Tanzania and the medical needs that they have.[2] The documentary focuses on the struggle that albino children suffer to be safe and how they sometimes need to be separated from their families to be protected against these violent attacks.

Persecution of people with albinism[edit]

The persecution of people with albinism that occurs in Tanzania and Malawi is founded on the belief that some of the body parts of people with albinism contain certain magic powers. This belief has been exploited by witch doctors who will use body parts of albinos to create potions that they claim will bring the person who drinks it good fortune.

Because of this belief people with albinism are being attacked, dismembered, sometimes even killed, and their body parts are later sold to the witch doctors. Children with albinism are at a higher risk for being attacked given that it is harder for them to defend themselves.

Statistics on the Persecution of albinos[edit]

According to Under the Same Sun, a Canada-based albinism advocacy group, since 2006 more than 100 albinos have suffered attacks.[3]

In Tanzania, there were around 75 reported cases of albinos who were killed between 2000 and 2016.[4]

According to the Red Cross, witch doctors are willing to pay up to $75,000 for a complete set of albino body parts.[5]

Featured stories[edit]

Dr. Duke meets Festo a 15-year-old boy who was attacked in his home at the age of 7. One night when his mom was in the kitchen making diner a group of men carrying machetes broke into Festo's home and they cut off one of his arms, they removed some of his fingers on the other hand, and they also remove some of his teeth. After the attack doctors were able to attach one of Festo's toes in his remaining hand so that he could still use it.

Later in the documentary, Dr. Duke meets Charles and Kulwa a married couple with albinism. Given that both parents suffer from albinism all of their children are albino as well. Charles and Kulwa had to leave their home and send their children to a protectorate center in order to protect them against the attacks.

Protection programs for albinos[edit]

In order to help people living with albinism in Tanzania, the government has put certain measures in place. Protectorate centers have been created for the children where no one is allowed in or out except for the parent of the kids or other people with government approval.[6] Inside the centers, the children are safe and receive an education but are separated from parents given that most centers are for children only.[7]

Heath care for albinos[edit]

Aside from protection programs people with albinism have certain health care needs. Because they have no melanin people with albinism have a higher risk of skin damage and developing other more serious conditions such as skin cancer.[8]

Some Non-governmental organizations and charitable organizations advocate for people with albinism. The organization provides health care to the people who suffer from albinism in Tanzania.[9] The health care provided includes eye examination, skin examination as well as other preventative measures such as providing sunscreen and covering for the skin.[10]

See also[edit]

  • Albinism
  • Albinism in humans
  • Persecution of people with albinism


  1. Velton, Ross. "The 'silent killer' of Africa's albinos". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  2. Hong, Esther S; Zeeb, Hajo; Repacholi, Michael H (2006-08-17). "Albinism in Africa as a public health issue". BMC Public Health. 6: 212. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-212. ISSN 1471-2458. PMC 1584235. PMID 16916463.
  3. "Tanzania's albinos hope goverment will offer more help". Associated Press. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  4. "Ending albino persecution in Africa | Africa Renewal". www.un.org. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  5. "Mass albino-trade witchdoctor arrests". BBC News. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  6. Palacios, Photographs by Ana (2015-05-13). "Albinism in Tanzania: safe havens in schools and support centres - in pictures". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  7. "Inside the Same – Care4Needs". Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  8. Franklin, Anita; Lund, Patricia; Bradbury-Jones, Caroline; Taylor, Julie (2018-01-12). "Children with albinism in African regions: their rights to 'being' and 'doing'". BMC International Health and Human Rights. 18 (1): 2. doi:10.1186/s12914-018-0144-8. ISSN 1472-698X. PMC 5767025. PMID 29329540.
  9. "Albinism in Africa: a medical and social emergency". Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2020-02-29.
  10. "Prevention and management of skin cancer for albinism sufferers". Fondation Pierre Fabre. Retrieved 2020-02-29.

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