Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Swazi albinos plead for protection

24 May 2013, 10:01

Mbabane - Swaziland's albinos have called on the government for protection ahead of elections expected later this year, fearing their body parts will be harvested by candidates seeking good luck.

"Those in authority must make sure that our safety is guaranteed," Skhumbuzo Mndvoti, an albino community leader living in the southern town of Nhlangano said.

"I can warn both adults and parents of albino children to take extra care during these election days," Mndvoti said.

Ritual killings are common in Swaziland, and elsewhere in Africa, with "muti" practitioners - a catch-all for traditional medicine and witchcraft - using limbs or body parts as amulets.

In the past albinos, who lack the skin pigment melanin, as well as epileptics have been specifically targeted, prompting the police to set up registries.

In 2010 the killing and mutilation of albinos, including in one instance the decapitation of two children in Nhlangano, prompted panic.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sipho Dlamini said such albino killings regularly take place, but in the past were masked by rumours about albino behaviour.

"People were told that when an albino dies, he would go and die far away where he or she would not be found. I think they were killed," he said.

Both men fear there may be resurgence in attacks in the run up to elections, the date of which has not yet been set.

Mndvoti blamed witchdoctors who mislead people into believing that using human body parts will help them win seats to parliament or prosper in business.

Witches and wizards

"Children should walk in groups to-and-from schools and they shouldn't be left alone at home."

"Adults should avoid walking at night since many of the ritual murders happen when it's dark."

The local albino community has threatened not to vote if no special security measures are taken.

Aspiring MP from Nhlangano, Mthokozisi Kunene said he sympathises with the albinos' plight.

He admitted that aspiring politicians are prime suspects to commit the ritual acts, but expressed hope "that won't happen this time".

"As Christians we have prayed that no ritual murderer or anyone who uses human body parts in attempt to win votes shall ever go to parliament," he said.

President of the Traditional Healers of Swaziland, Nhlavana Maseko said those who mislead people to use ritual murder to win elections or wealth are witches and wizards but not traditional healers.

"A witch is born and never trained but a traditional healer undergoes intensive training to heal people trough traditional means," said Maseko.

He expressed hope that a new law would help clear things up and stop the killings.

"We have a problem here in Swaziland of the colonial law called the Witchcraft Act which does not make a difference between a traditional healer and a witch or wizard."

"But the new Traditional Health Practitioners Act has given clarity between the two."

Voters began registering for elections in Africa's last absolute monarchy, last week, with unions and the opposition calling for a boycott of what they dismiss as a "rubber stamp" poll.

Candidates in the election are shortlisted in their chiefdoms, whose leaders are directly appointed by the king.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
How to get rid of cellulite at ho...

Proper diets and a healthy lifestyle are among the most effective natural remedies for cellulite. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Peter Kenneth is not a good leade...

A local activist has slammed the former Presidential candidate Peter Kenneth for only appearing during elections but going underground when the country has problems.  Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Javelin champion Julius Yego invo...

He is undergoing treatment at the Medihill hospital in Eldoret. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...