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Mwabi play raises awareness on albinism

Kebiditswe will be shooting a play titled Mwabi that aims to sensitize the public on albinism
People with albinism often face discrimination and ridicule within their own families and communities. In some countries, these groups of people are subjected to ritual killings.

Local scriptwriter and film director, Neo Kebiditswe will be shooting a play titled Mwabi that aims to sensitise the public on albinism. This story is based on what is happening in the world regarding people living with albinism.

Kebiditswe told Arts & Culture that people living with albinism face stigma.

“This minority group is stigmatised, they suffer extreme violence that in some countries even includes murder. Even though killing people with albinism as a ritual murder is rare in Botswana, we have heard of incidents where they are killed for their body parts. Some people believe that these people possess powers that bring extreme luck and can bring riches. This is not true because these are people like any other so-called normal people,” she explained.

She said the video would sensitise people on people living with albinism who might have a different skin colour from other people.  They are human, she said.   She further explained that the name Mwabi was a discriminatory term used to mock the people. She said it was a negative word that was used to belittle them.

“I came (up) with a plot of a young girl born with albinism. Even though her family had accepted and loved her, Mwabi grew into a curious young woman. Her family and others that had children living with albinism lived together in a highly secured yard to protect them from the outside world.  However, she being a teenager became curious of the outside world. She wanted to explore the outside world and lead a normal life like other teenagers. She did not want to live in a highly protected compound anymore,” she said.

Kebiditswe explained that having grown in a camp all her life, Mwabi decided to escape and explore life turning a blind eye on the stories that her parents and others told her about the brutality people living with albinism faced. After running away from home, she started experiencing the

harsh reality that people in her skin colour face everyday. Mwabi was discriminated against, assaulted and later abducted. She started to dialogue with her kidnapers whose intension was to see her break. Unaware, Mwabi’s interaction with her abductors was able to save her life as it somehow sensitised him on albinism before she could be killed. According to Kebiditswe, the film will be filled with violence to give the viewer a clear picture of what people living with albinism face on a daily basis. She said Mwabi, played by the multitalented Phildephia Motladile who also lives with albinism will be tortured, stripped mentally and starved to give the audience the feel of pain and agony that people living with albinism go through everyday. She said she hoped the play would get sponsorship to enable it to reach places outside Gaborone where discrimination against people living with albinism was common. She said even though she was not sure of the dates when the play and film would be released, she intended to interview some of the people living with albinism about the challenges they face daily. Its age restriction would be 18 years and above. It will be a full-length play.

“We grew up being told to be scared of this group of people. That is why to date most of us are afraid to look them in the eye. It is not fair because they are like you and me. This video is personal to me because I have a friend who lives with albinism and I can imagine the pain and challenges she faces everyday even though she is a strong and smart person,” she said.

The proceeds of the play would go to NGOs dealing with albinism. 

The target audience includes young people more especially women and policy makers as they are believed to have the power to fight the discrimination against people living with albinism.




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