Beginning in 2007, reports began to surface that albinos, mainly children, were being hunted for their body parts, particularly in the northwestern part of the country in the vicinity of Africa’s two largest lakes: Victoria and Tanganyika.
Although the myth that albino flesh can bring good luck was nothing new, the emergence of significant gold and diamond mining in the region brought an influx of money that upped the stakes, says Fred Otieno, a community engagement officer at the Africa Inland Church of Tanzania and a Nyamizeze meeting facilitator.
Outside investors, flush with cash, were willing to try anything to strike it big. Local witch doctors, sensing their own windfall, began recruiting gangs to bring them albino “charms.” “Business and politics here is highly superstitious,” Otieno says. “If someone insists, ‘If you have that (albino limb), you’ll get this gold,’ many are going to do it.”
Ally Hassani Pyupi explains the difference between practicing herbal medicine and witch craft whose devotees claim body parts of albinos will bring wealth.