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Soraya Matos, author
The Ghost People of Tanzania is more than a photo book. It’s a tool of advocacy for fighting misconceptions rooted in hate. Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the lack of melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes. Tanzania currently holds the worlds largest population of people with albinism (PWA) at in every 1,400 individuals - but for country with such a large population there is little awareness on the fact that albinism is actually a genetic condition. Witchcraft is at the root of Tanzanian culture, and witch doctors create ‘Albino elixir’ using albino body parts fueling beliefs that the potion brings wealth and power. As a result of these misconceptions, the albinism population lives under the daily threat of abuse, abductions, and ritual killings. To break the cycle of injustice and marginalization, this visual advocacy project focuses on the lives of 50 Tanzanians with albinism - sharing the realities of what it means to suffer from albinism while highlighting the truth to the condition. The work was created during the span of a year throughout various regions and albinism communities throughout Tanzania. Through powerful testimony and public art, this project upholds the concept of integration and instilling dignity back into the community by equipping individuals with tools needed to demand their deserved rights and encourage self-advocacy.