As South African traditional healer Bongolethu “Dr Khehlelezi” Mzozo prepares to appear in court tomorrow over a video that spread misinformation about persons with albinism on YouTube, Amnesty International and the National Albinism Task Force are urging the South African government to take action in safeguarding individuals with albinism from discrimination, hostility, and violence.
Following the release of the video, the Thembisilemadlala Albinism Foundation, supported by The National Albinism Task Force, lodged a case with the Equality Court under Section 20 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000 (PEPUDA). The organizations argued that the video was discriminatory and constituted “hate speech” against persons with albinism.
Amidst these developments, Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, emphasized that individuals with albinism have the same rights as anyone else, including the right to be free from discrimination and protected against the advocacy of hatred. Chagutah expressed deep concern over the marginalization and discrimination faced by persons with albinism, as perpetuating hate and discrimination puts their safety at serious risk.
Amnesty International and the National Albinism Task Force are jointly calling on the South African government to promptly respect, promote, and fulfil the rights of individuals with albinism. They also urge the government to hold accountable those who violate these rights and take measures to eradicate discrimination, counter misinformation, and dispel stereotypes about persons with albinism.
Patrick Wadula, Chairperson of the National Albinism Task Force in South Africa, appealed to the public to stand in solidarity with people with albinism by condemning and reporting any behaviour that promotes hatred or incites discrimination against them.
The case has gone through previous court proceedings, with opportunities for settlement or mediation, which ultimately failed. The applicants are now seeking just and equitable relief from the court, highlighting the harms and violence caused by the contents of the video.
Furthermore, concerns persist regarding the reported disappearance of two individuals in Kwa Zulu-Natal since the video’s release, as well as the ongoing experiences of violence, harm, and discrimination faced by persons with albinism in South Africa.
Persons with albinism endure structural and systemic discrimination across southern Africa and live in fear for their lives. They are often targeted and killed for their body parts in various countries in the region. Albinism organizations are set to hold a solidarity march from Gandhi Park in Verulam, Kwa Zulu-Natal to the Equality Court at the Verulam Magistrate Court for the hearing, aiming to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of individuals with albinism.
The court appearance of Bongolethu “Dr Khehlelezi” Mzozo marks a crucial moment in the fight against discrimination and violence targeting persons with albinism, calling for justice and protection for this vulnerable community.