In a world that often judges by appearances, South Africa’s albinism community has had its fair share of decades of discrimination. This has limited their access to health, education, employment, and justice. These myriad issues led to the establishment of the South Africa National Albinism Taskforce (NATF) in 2019 with the support of the then UN Independent Expert on Albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, during an official visit to South Africa.
On October 5, 2023, The Africa Albinism Network (AAN) convened the national leaders of the NATF, as pictured above for a Learning Forum. The Learning Forum also welcomed virtual participants, human rights defenders from Malawi, Mr. Bonface Massah, and Uganda, Ms. Olive Namutebi, along with personnel from the Africa Albinism Network (AAN). This forum adopted a hybrid format, accommodating both in-person and online attendees.
This Learning Forum aimed to equip South Africa’s NATF leaders with the strategic information and tools necessary to develop their National Action Plan (NAP) on albinism effectively. A central focus was guiding the NATF leaders to align their National Action Plan on albinism with the African Union Plan of Action on Albinism (“AU PoA”: Official version here. Factsheet in English, French, Portuguese)
South Africa NATF Leaders During a Training Session with AAN
The program began with a comprehensive overview of the AU PoA. Following this, Bonface and Olive shared tangible experiences from Malawi and Uganda. Their insights underscored strategies for engaging key stakeholders and the government in formulating and executing the NAP. Ikponwosa Ero enlightened participants about Kenya’s journey, emphasizing strategies to secure government funding and implement measures safeguarding the rights of individuals with albinism.
“Sharing with different countries made us really reflect on our work and how we can improve our strategies.” – Learning Forum Participant
Throughout, the NATF showcased their leadership prowess, marked by active participation, profound discussions, and thought-provoking questions. Their contributions not only elevated the learning experience but also sparked innovative viewpoints.
The AAN remains steadfast in its mission, committing its resources to support the National Albinism Taskforces across the continent to achieve an inclusive world for people with albinism free from brutality and discrimination.
Pictured Above – L-R, Ntsike Loteni (Secretary), Thomas Makhanthisa (Deputy Chairperson), Patrick Wadula (Chairperson), Mpho Tjope (Former Chairperson), Nomasonto Mazibuko (Technical Expert), Lehlohonono Molebatsi (Treasurer) and Innocentia (Human Rights Expert, Board Member at AAN and Learning Forum Facilitator)