Beauty Triumphs Over Prejudice: Albinism Pageant Winner Inspires Change

Inspiring Stories

by Victor Adetimilehin

In a dazzling celebration of beauty, purpose, and resilience, Andreia Solange Sicato Muhitu, a 28-year-old Angolan model, emerged as the co-winner of the inaugural Mr and Miss Albinism Southern Africa pageant. With a glittering crown adorning her head and a bouquet of flowers in her hands, Muhitu radiated joy and hope, as she embraced her newfound role as an ambassador for people with albinism.


Born with albinism, a genetic condition that results in reduced melanin pigment production, Muhitu had previously participated in conventional beauty pageants in her home country but never felt as beautiful and purposeful as she did at this unique event in Harare.


The pageant, held on October 14, sent a powerful message against the enduring prejudice and misconceptions surrounding albinism. The United Nations human rights agency acknowledges that albinism remains profoundly misunderstood, and individuals with the condition often face discrimination, ridicule, and even violence fueled by misguided superstitions.


These superstitions include the erroneous belief that having sexual relations with a person with albinism can cure HIV or that their unique physical attributes possess supernatural powers. Tragically, in some regions like Malawi and Tanzania, people with albinism are at risk of violence and even death as they are targeted for their body parts.


Despite existing anti-discrimination laws, individuals with albinism continue to encounter daily prejudice, including rejection by their families and fathers who disown them upon realizing their condition. Access to affordable skin care services and cancer treatment remains a challenge, while hate, mockery, and insults persist.


The Mr and Miss Albinism Southern Africa pageant brought together 18 contestants from different countries, including South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, and Tanzania. They captivated the audience with poetry, song, and dance performances, and displayed grace and elegance as they walked the runway in professional attire, evening gowns, and traditional African outfits.


The event, held under the theme “Into the Light,” aimed to showcase the boundless talents of individuals with albinism and challenge the harsh treatment and stigma they often face. Brenda Mudzimu, the event organizer and a person with albinism, emphasized that people with albinism are no different from others, except for their skin color.


Muhitu expressed her appreciation for the growing number of events that celebrate people with albinism in Africa, emphasizing that they have dreams, talent, and unique qualities. She aspires to continue inspiring young girls to pursue their dreams and hopes that individuals with albinism will step into the spotlight and shine.


Mr and Miss Albinism Southern Africa pageant acts as a light of hope and change in a world that frequently misunderstands and stigmatizes persons with albinism. Individuals like Andreia Solange Sicato Muhitu are breaking down barriers and redefining perceptions through their beauty, ability, and determination. “People with albinism have dreams, they have talent, and they are amazing people,” she says. However, if they are not given the opportunity to shine, they will remain in the background.”


Source: [Newsday Zimbabwe]


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