Albinism is an inherited condition affecting at least 1 in 4000 people in Africa. It is thought to be more common among black Africans although it affects the entire human populations. In most African societies, albinism is regarded to be a disability and the social attitudes against albinos are characterised by lack of understanding, fear, and also of prejudice based on the appearance of albinism. There are various myths surrounding albinos such as that they are born as a punishment, that it is a curse to give birth to albinos and that albinos are immortal and that they are in fact spirits. This causes them to be seen as outcasts in society. Albinism is an inherited, congenital condition resulting in reduced synthesis of melanin pigment in the hair, skin and eyes. It leads to a host of lifelong physical health problems, in particular visual impairment and ultraviolet induced skin damage. In Africa such problems are exacerbated by exposure to harsh sunlight and reduced access to adequate health care, especially in rural areas.
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2011.