Hidden for 22 years

02 August 2019 | Local News

A 35-year-old woman from Mazana village in Kavango East says she was hidden by her parents for 22 years, because she was born with albinism.

Speaking at an albinism stakeholder engagement at Rundu yesterday, Claudia Mwira David said she was born in 1984, but the first time she interacted with the people was in 2006, when she started her albinism treatment.

Albinism is a congenital disorder characterised by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes.

David said her parents would keep a close eye to make sure she didn’t leave the house, and when people visited, she was hidden away.

“I grew up with my parents, who kept me indoors all the time. I could not go out of the house, and when people came to our house, I had to go and hide in a room, not to be seen,” she narrated.

David said those who were aware of her condition, especially the neighbours, would not visit their house because of cultural beliefs and myths attached to people born with albinism.

“People would not come to our house, which is why my parents had to try by all means to hide my existence from society.”

David explained that at the age of 22, when her skin condition worsened, she had to go for treatment, which resulted in her visiting a hospital, where she experienced society’s rejection first-hand.

When asked how she felt at that time, she said she had low self-esteem and opted to live in isolation.

She said society still discriminates against her, as there are some people who opt not to eat from the same plate as hers or even engage with her.

Her father, Ndumba Mwira David (70) confirmed her story.

Ndumba said they had no alternative, apart from keeping their daughter hidden from society.

He said at the time people were strong believers in cultural beliefs and myths, and they therefore did what they felt was best.

“People in the community were against us having a child born with albinism, therefore in order to be accepted in the community, we had to do what we did, because it was the best option we had at the time,” Ndumba said.

When asked how he feels now that his daughter is able to move freely in society, Ndumba said he is happy, adding the situation has become more acceptable, because the number of people born with albinism has increased in the community.

Ironically, one of their neighbours, who strongly rejected David, also later gave birth to a child born with albinism.

Ombudsman, John Walters, who is spearheading the public hearings on discrimination and the challenges faced by people living with albinism, said a lot still needs to be done to sensitise Namibians.

Walters said his office has realised that citizens have limited knowledge on what albinism is and what challenges people living with the condition face.

Walters added that because government recognises albinism as a form of disability, broader society needs to be made aware of issues related to the condition.

“We see them amongst us, but we are not aware of what they go through. This is why we try to learn the experiences of the people themselves and then come up with awareness campaigns,” Walters said.

Public hearings have taken place at Oshakati, Eenhana, Okongo and Rundu, with another hearing scheduled for Monday in Windhoek.

Justice ministry chief legal officer Ruusa Ntinda spoke out strongly against people with albinism using products, such as the dye to change the colour of their hair.

She also spoke out against the use of hair relaxers, saying the contents of these products are too strong for the skin of someone with albinism, which can result in skin cancer.

On the issue of artificial hair, Ntinda advised them to use any colour except black, as it attracts heat and can also cause cancer.

A group of people living with albinism, who attended the workshop, were all given suncare products after the event.


Similar News


Opposition: Remove Katrina

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Local News

The youth league of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDMYL) has called for the removal of disgraced former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa from the National Assembly....

NIP employees demand increases

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Local News

Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) employees staged a peaceful demonstration during their lunch break on Wednesday and handed over a petition to the health ministry...

Oopresenda 39 dhAaNamibia otaya si ondjala

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Local News

Olopota ndjika yonuumvo oya tala unene kondjala, ompumbwe yegamenenepo lyoondya oshowo omanyutu, na oya holola kutya ndhika oomvula ndatu dhalandulathana ondjele yondjala tayi londo pombanda...

Kwateni omeya nawa

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Local News

Sho momwedhi Juli AaVenduka yeshi pondola okukwata nawa omeya, elelo lyoshilando shaVenduka otali kunkilile aakalimo opo ya kwate nawa omeya sho kwa tegelelwa e yo...

'Hands off Diescho'

3 days ago - 15 August 2019 | Local News

Opposition parties have criticised President Hage Geingob for engaging in public mudslinging with political analyst Joseph Diescho, who is now living in Germany because he...

City officially quits Alan

3 days ago - 15 August 2019 | Local News

The Association for Local Authorities in Namibia (Alan) was officially notified of the Windhoek municipality's resignation as a member, which has brought with it a...

More relief for pensioners

4 days ago - 14 August 2019 | Local News

The poverty ministry has announced a N$50 increase in old-age pension grants bringing the total monthly payout to N$1 300. While this was announced as...

Tsumkwe road feasibility study welcomed

5 days ago - 13 August 2019 | Local News

MANGETTI DUNE - The ongoing feasibility studies on the Tsumkwe C44 gravel road being conducted by the Roads Authority (RA), with a plan to upgrade...

Mitigating human trafficking

5 days ago - 13 August 2019 | Local News

World Day against Trafficking in Persons was commemorated at the Mondesa Multipurpose Centre in Swakopmund last week. The day is commemorated worldwide by human rights...

Iita yopakana pokati kaGeingob naDiescho

5 days ago - 13 August 2019 | Local News

Omupresidende Hage Geingob okwa longitha oshigongi shoka a ningi naakwashigwana moRundu mokuponokela nomalaka Omuprofessa Joseph Diescho, omanga a popi kutya oye eeta Diescho paantu.Geingob...

Latest News

Best July in four years

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – July’s food inflation data contain sweet and sour, but mostly sweet ingredients: The overall figure of 3.7% is the mildest so far...

The underexplored gold mine of...

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Aurelia DavidPublic relations (PR) is a function of many facets and PR practitioners are expected to evolve along with the different technologies that they require...

Leading IT innovation

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Mariselle Stofberg Vincent Weyulu is a picture of determination. At 26 years old has proven that age is just a number when you are determined...

Geingob blitzes Baumgartsbrunn

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Government

The Christmas Eve-like excitement of the Baumgartsbrunn community was abruptly cut short yesterday when President Geingob spent minutes with them. The purpose of this...

Facebook post leads to N$100...

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Justice

A public Facebook post criticising the professional conduct of a Mariental doctor is at the centre of a N$100 000 defamation suit filed at the...

New plot saga at Omuthiya

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Government

Omuthiya deputy mayor Hisikiel Nanyeni, who previously served as the town's mayor, is being accused of allocating himself a residential plot at Extension Five in...

Africa Briefs

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Economics

South Africa yesterday announced visa waivers for four countries in a bid to boost tourism amid an economic crisis and falling visitor numbers.Visitors from Qatar,...

An agent fighting against financial...

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Over the last few decades financial crime has increasingly become a concern to financial institutions. It has become widely recognised that the prevalence of economically...

Engineering sparks Kahima

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Elizabeth JosephSarah Kahima’s choice of pursuing a degree in electrical engineering has a lot to do with what sparked an interest In her while she...

Load More