Patrick Gries: In/Visibility
The albino in [some parts] Africa is considered a victim of evil or magical beliefs. His or her birth is often experienced as a curse. In Tanzania, they are often dismissed and ignored. Thus the albino is, in a way, transparent. There is thus a paradox to their visibility and invisibility. They are noticed for their obvious difference in appearance from the black African population, and yet socially, they are ghosts — Zeru Zeru. As they have no civic legitimacy, they do not exist.
Since 2005, Tanzania has experienced a series of horrific massacres and mutilations of albinos. These attacks are inextricably linked to, among other things, the emergence of gold mining in the Great Lakes region that brought with it an influx of miners in the quest of riches and sorcerers extolling the virtues of good fortune brought by the body parts and organs of albinos. What followed was a veritable manhunt, especially of children, in the rural areas.
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