in the african great lakes region, people with albinism face both ostracism from their communities and are hunted by those looking to sell their body parts to witch doctors. infants are abducted from mother’s beds and young children are kidnapped, where their eyes, genitals, arms and organs removed while alive.
with the body parts believed to be fetching tens of thousands of dollars on the black market, the trade is thought to be driven by the wealthiest members of society. “mutilation and murders of children with albinism are mostly met by social silence and indifference,” says a report released last year by the un’s special representative on violence against children.
in the past few years, there have been 72 reported killings and 35 reported attacks resulting in severe mutation in tanzania alone; in the rest of africa, there have been 45 reported killings and 30 severe mutilations, though the number of unreported cases would put the numbers much higher. a full, detailed listing of killings and attacks can be found here
Inspired by a Tretchikoff painting, these portraits are done by Cape Town photographer Paul Cocks styled by Kate Desmarais who fashioned head-wraps out of clothing.
Model: Nargis Musawwir from Base
Hair & Makeup: Marieke Sixx
Studio and lighting: Pro Rental Cape Town