A Zvishavane man has abandoned his family after his wife gave birth to children with albinism only, this publication can reveal.
The man identified as Emmanuel Nyoni, blamed her wife for giving birth to children with albinism only. He abandoned his marriage and left his wife Polite Charles to bear the brunt of raising the children on her own.
Speaking in an interview with this publication, Charles said that after her husband and in-laws failed to accept the albino children, her marriage was rocked by trying times prompting his husband to abandon her.
“I’ve two children with albinism and this caused a lot of family misunderstandings, my in-laws couldn’t accept albino children in their family so my husband left me, he left on 14 April last year and I’m back home to my biological parents, they’re okay with my albino children,” she said.
Speaking to this publication, founder and executive director of Albino Charity Organisation of Zimbabwe (ACOZ), Loveness Mainato, said there is a dire need to educate the communities about albinism since many people are still ill-informed of what causes the condition, resulting in the continuing segregation and emotional victimisation of persons with albinism.
“Segregation against people with albinism is what our organisation is fighting against. The community is not well informed about this condition of albinism, they find it easy to lay all the blame on the mother of the children yet albinism originates from both parents’ genetic make-ups, linked to family generations,” Mainato said.
According to the National Organisation for Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation, albinism is a group of genetic conditions that cause a lack of black pigment in the skin. Apart from isolation, parental denial, and social segregation, most children with albinism often experience medical need challenges like lack of Sun Protection factor (sunscreen lotions) to protect against direct ultra-rays that cause skin cancer.
The focal person for the Association of the Disabled and Elderly Persons in Zimbabwe (ADEPZ), Primrose Nyangoni, who was also part of the “Meet the People tour” celebrations in connection with International Day of Persons with Albinism, echoed the same sentiments with ACOZ that the communities need to be well educated about albinism to reduce social stigmatisation challenges.
“There is a need to change this wrong mindset that the mother is responsible for albinism, this condition originates genetically from the combined genetic make-ups of both parents.
“It’s grossly unfair for a spouse to leave another spouse because of a child born with albinism. The misconception here is that the community thinks albinism is a curse to a parent from either God or ancestors. Albinism is just a genetic condition, genes are passed from one generation to the other, we never know maybe this husband is the one with these genes of albinism. This is not a disease but a condition that we must learn to accept and live with as parents, family, and community as a whole,” Nyangoni explained.
“We are continuing with lessons to end segregation towards albinism, currently we’re seized with community-based workshops in which we’re educating the communities. Also in order to relieve challenges and reduce violence to those with albinism, we’re helping them with body lotions,” Mainato added.
With the theme, “We Love We Care, Chenga Ose Manhanga Hapana Asina Mhodzi”, ACOZ, since its establishment and legal registration with Public Service Urban Social Welfare ten years ago, has been working hard to ensure that the rights of those with albinism are protected, promoted and fulfilled.
“We encourage those with albinism, parents, and relatives to fight for our loved ones’ rights. Albinism should never be a limiting factor for one’s goals we want to see them even in parliament. The people with albinism should have the courage and confidence to fight for their constitutional rights especially to get equal job opportunities. The community should never look down upon people with albinism,” Mainato added.
Efforts to get a comment from Emmanuel Nyoni or any of his close relatives were not successful, but the mother of the abandoned albino children said that her biological parents have accepted her but although she is facing challenges in acquiring her children’s ointments and she pleaded for assistance.