Art and Global Health Centre (ArtGlo) on Saturday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Albinism Awareness Day by premiering a short film titled Home is A Place Like This.
ArtGlo premiered the short film on its Facebook page due coronavirus gathering ban.
The International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated annually on June 13 to celebrate the human rights of persons with albinism worldwide.
ArtGlo Communications Officer Tamiwe Kathumba, who wrote the film, said the film was produced by National Screenwriters Guild of Malawi.
“I submitted the film to the national script writing competition held by National Screenwriters Guild of Malawi in 2019 where it emerged as the winner,” Kathumba said.
She added: “We decided to spotlight the film because it aligns with our values, particularly umunthu where we advocate for the universal bond that connects us all and the transformative power of the arts to spark bold conversations and broaden perspectives.”
The film highlights the plight of a young girl living with albinism and an imagined future worst case scenario where people living with albinism live in fear and are forced to live in isolation and afraid to go out without protection.
“All characters are fiction. You will also notice that the film highlights the number of cases over the years in Malawi of killings and abductions of people living with albinism,” she said.
The premiere also featured live discussion with Tumeliwa Mphepo, a human rights activist, person living with albinism and member of Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam), who shared her experiences as a person living with albinism and her work as an activist.
Kathumba said it was an honour for her to be able to tell the story.
“I hope I did it justice as a writer. What struck me the most during the production of the film is the fact that we had to use an actor with a makeup because the situation in Malawi at the time was so dire that no-one could trust a call for a child living with albinism for the film because of the prevalence of abductions and killings,” she said.
Mphepo said society has been believing that persons with albinism don’t die but rather disappear.
“It is believed that in the name of disappearance, other persons with albinism have been killed and their body parts have been used for charms and later the society call it so and so have disappeared. As we are commemorating International Albinism Awareness Day on the theme ‘Made to Shine’, it should be a wake- up call to Malawians, what are we doing to bring out the light?” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr and Miss Albinism Bennet Phunyanya and Chikondi Kanjadza respectively have launched a social media campaign ‘Kukongola Kowala’ that aims at showing the beauty of persons with albinism with regards to the theme of the International Albinism Awareness Day theme ‘Made to Shine’.
The campaign will run the whole month of June.
Miss Albinism alongside artists such as Gophyl G, Charles, Hilda and Taqwa have also dropped a theme song ‘Made to Shine’.