By Sam Banda Jnr:
The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam), in collaboration with local and international partners, is set to hold the first ever Mr and Miss Albinism beauty pageant in September 2019.
Countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya and Guinea have been holding such events.
Apam Programmes Lead and Event Organising Committees Focal Person, Peter Kayenda, said the activities would be held annually, funds permitting.
“This is part of making a statement that, like everyone else, persons with albinism have a right to life,” Kayenda said.
This year, Mr and Miss Albinism will run under the theme ‘We Are Just Like You’.
“We hope this will help bring positive change to the country. We have used art because it is indispensable. Part of it is also engrossed in our culture,” he said.
He said there is untapped talent in persons with albinism; hence the decision to come up with the Mr and Miss Albinism beauty pageant and Talent Show.
“Some of the persons with albinism have defied the odds to show the world that everything is possible in life.
“So, apart from using this stage to call upon people to stop attacking persons with albinism, we also want to raise awareness, empower and create a sense of self-pride,” Kayenda said.
Some of the contestants who have shown interest in participating in the event include Mphatso Lemani and Stella Masinja.
“This is a serious event. Persons with albinism have what it takes to shine.
“At the moment, we have our very own Lazarus Chigwandali, who is excelling in music and his documentary— which was premiered at Tribeca Festival in United States of America— was just screened here last weekend,” Kayenda said.
Lazarus is set to release an album Stomp on the Devil, on August 16 2019.
In fact, Lazarus is not the only talented person with albinism. In Blantyre, there is a dancer, Griezel Gomani, who stars with Dikamawoko Arts.
“I have been dancing for close to nine years now and I am happy with the strides I have made. I am happy that art has taken me places and, so, I want to do more. All I want to say is that persons with albinism are just like anyone else; they can do what everyone can do. I would like to thank all the members of Dikamawoko Arts for the support they give me,” Gomani said.
Kayenda said, in their quest to make history through Mr and Miss Albinism, they are engaging the corporate world, individual business magnates, the donor community, the government, non-governmental organisations and communities to sustain the event.
“As indicated earlier, we are looking at bringing participants from every part of the country and we will crown best performing contestants under different categories among the young persons with albinism,” Kayenda said.
He said to make the Mr and Miss Albinism better, they were also looking at connecting with other countries to share notes.
Let the Mr and Miss Albinism and Talent show hit the ground running.
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