Saturday, 17 March 2018

FIRST MISS ALBINISM CROWNED


Oozing charm and confidence, 22-year-old Sithembiso Mutukura beat 12 other contestants in Zimbabwe's first Miss Albinism beauty contest aimed at reducing stigma and increasing awareness about the condition.

Friday's "Beauty Beyond the Skin" pageant was held in a Harare nightclub, making Zimbabwe the second African country after Kenya to host such an event.

Many African countries have a dark relationship with albinism -- a genetic disorder inherited from parents who both carry a faulty gene that prevents the skin from making melanin properly and thereby giving it colour.

They are hunted down in some African countries by sangomas for their body parts which are used in potions to bring good luck or riches. Some are even kidnapped and sold by relatives out to make a fast buck.

Mutukura said she entered the pageant to raise awareness.

"The people with disabilities are always looked down upon even in schools. I have gone through a lot but I want people living with albinism to be brave and persevere in life," the social work student at the University of Zimbabwe told AFP after winning the crown.
"We must continue to advocate for our rights and I hope my win will empower the girl child. People with disabilities must not look down upon themselves."

The contestants sashayed down the catwalk in gowns and traditional African robes and were asked an array of questions to decide the winner.

Mutukura won a food hamper and $85 (70 euros) -- a fair bit of money in Zimbabwe.

Pageant organiser Brenda Mudzimu said she was happy to finally host the event as it was postponed last year due to a lack of funds.

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