The inaugural Miss Albinism Zimbabwe was crowned last week. While it was seen as a move in the right direction there are still concerns that society is not ready for such.
Is beauty solely based on appearance?
Sithembiso Mutukura, crowned on the night, walked away with a paltry $85 due to lack of sponsorship.
The harsh reality is that had it been a Miss Zimbabwe pageant the winner would have walked away with lots of prizes and lump sum monies.
This shows society is still failing to accept albinism as just a skin condition, not a curse.
Albinism is a defect of melanin production that results in little or no colour pigment in the skin, eyes and hair.
Zimbabwe is moving towards demystifying albinism but they still face a number of stereotypes.
Marvellous Tshuma, a musician living with the condition, speaks on her experience while recording her music video in Makokoba.
In an article with Chronicle Tshuma expressed disbelief at how local children ran away from her, but thata��s not all, they are often referred to as inkawu (monkey) or khiwa (white man) among others. The myths behind them are also baffling; you often hear that when an albino dies no burial takes place because they disappear or have often seen children screaming a�?hold your buttona�? when an albino appears.
Tshuma said people made nasty comments when they see her or any other albino wearing make-up.
a�?You will be trying to look beautiful but because people dona��t understand, they will judge you. Just imagine what they will say when you enter a beauty contest. That is just how it is,a�? Tshuma told B-Metro.
Zimbabwe Albino Association (Zimas) director Mercy Maunganidze-Chimanga does not understand why albinos are not part of the mainstream pageants.
a�?You can ask the organisers of those pageants as to why they are segregating women with albinism because we have never seen them participating in such competitions. We are the second country after Kenya to host such an event and we hope that next year we will have more support as albinism is a disability recognised worldwide,a�? she said.
Sarah Mpofu, who runs Fingers Modelling Academy and is the licence holder of Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, said there was no discrimination when it comes to participating in pageants.
a�?I hope that with time people with albinism will gain confidence as they arena��t any less than us as we are all beautiful.
There is no restriction when it comes to who models and they are just as good. I would like to applaud the organisers for the initiative and one of these days in the nearer future we will see them participating across the board,a�? said Mpofu.
Therea��s still a long way to go in ending the discrimination of people with albinism.