BACKGROUND : Partly because of the legacy of apartheid, and despite being a constitutional
democracy, South Africa continues to be a deeply divided society, particularly along racial
lines. In this context many people with albinism do not fit neatly into black and white
categories and are likely to experience social discrimination and marginalisation.
OBJECTIVES : The study endeavoured to explore the beliefs and practices regarding albinism
within a South African university, and the availability of support services.
METHOD : The research was located within an interpretive qualitative paradigm and was framed
within the theories of stigma, discrimination and ‘othering’. Interviews were conducted with
five students with albinism and 10 students without albinism.
RESULTS : Findings confirmed the existence of myths and stereotypes regarding albinism.
Students with albinism tended to exclude themselves from the rest of the student community
to avoid discrimination and stereotypes around their condition.
CONCLUSION : People with albinism can teach us about social constructions of race, colour and
relations between minority groups and the majority culture. Results have implications for
schools, disability units at universities, and albinism societies in terms of opening up channels
of communication between people with albinism and the general public and fostering
knowledge and awareness thereof.