ALBINISM: The color of love
Variety is the spice of life hence imagine having one flavor of ice cream – it’s a taste bud abomination likewise in humanity we have various skin colors.
From biblical references, humankind was created in the image of God, and He was pleased by the works of his hand. It is sad and unfortunate how the same creation segregates and deems other useless or unworthy of life.
Albinism is referred to as the congenital absence of pigmentation in the eyes, skin and hair. If you have a problem with accepting this flavor of humanity, I am sorry because you have no clue of what you are missing out on. If your acceptance is skin deep, then I pray that you become color blind for your own sake. You are depriving yourself of living a full life with your kind – humanity.
In this journey of life, I have been privileged to meet the most talented creatives and I shall be celebrating them in this feature, namely Brenda Mhlanga and Frank Nyamundero.
Twenty-three years ago, a daughter was born in Chipinge, Manicaland named Brenda Mhlanga known as Brandie. She is a passionate Environmentalist, climate justice advocate, a poet, a motivational speaker, an author and the current First Princess and Miss Personality for the 2022 Miss Albinism, Zimbabwe.
In one of my previous articles, I spoke about one’s purpose and passion being intertwined. For some they are born to shine and shine as soon as they are born hence for Brandie it was quite the opposite and she said that:
“From a young age l was so quiet and sometimes l was misrepresented because I could not speak up for myself. Now that I have gained the confidence and ability to speak out, l feels my purpose in this life is to be a voice where there is no voice, representing those who need space and this has seen me as an environmentalist, climate change advocate and a representative for the albinism community. My passion is to see justice being done for those who can’t speak up,” said Brandie.
Brandie is a goal getter and already making a mark in the world however, challenges have knocked on her door a few times.
She said: “What l can say is that whenever there are progress challenges are bound to come, as they rightly say, ‘New levels bring new devils.’ The biggest challenge that I faced as a child with albinism is that of acceptance. Because of my difference people always doubts my potential judging with my skin color. There were many platforms that I could not get access to due to that stigma. Our generation denounces their ancestors for killing people with albinism, but the truth is since those days till now there is just a slight improvement from total eradication to mere tolerance. People with albinism are tolerated hence they are no longer killed in some countries like ours. Many destinies continue to be butchered daily due to failure to accept us into society as people who have the potential to make a change.”
A good support system enables growth and further determination in pursuing one’s goals as said by Brandie;
“As a child who grew up very quiet my parents are amazed by the sudden courage and eagerness to stand out that l has developed. It leaves them with a lot of questions but yeah, they are very supportive in my dreams.”
Whether young or older, it is true to note that without proper discipline it is difficult to handle fame and popularity. According to Brenda, being famous is something great and shows that you have done something positive that brings attention to you. Focusing on the fame and what people are saying about you might draw your focus and attention away from your core business.
“I personally believe that all that l do is to empower someone with albinism out there, so instead of focusing on what the world is saying l think I will do justice to myself by focusing on empowering the next person. I find strength in seeing change, whenever there is change after my efforts l feel there is still hoped to do something better.
“I am also a writer of poetry and articles on both Environmental issues and issues to do with the albinism community. I recently published my book Taught by Experience,” said Brandie.
Brandie’s life experiences as a child were uneasy as she felt people were unwelcoming.
“My experiences as a child with albinism were very hard especially at a very young age. Living as a child with albinism was not easy because even when people don’t mean any harm, you can always feel like everyone is not welcoming. Because I saw myself as different, if a person stares at me l would feel uncomfortable because there was too much attention on me.”
The advice that Brenda would love to leave is that nomatter what, people will always see you through your own eyes. If you respect and love yourself the world will also do that, so instead of sitting down and waiting to be raised by other people (which will never happen) raise yourself, be positive about your life and the rest belongs to God.
I also got to chat with Frank Rangarirai Nyamundero :
“Frank Rangarirai is my name affectionately known as Dr Frank, Frankinspire or Dr Smarts/crazy. A young, simple but extraordinary gentleman. Husband to one wife Pretty, a Family therapist, Life coach, Author, relationship coach, motivational speaker and a musical fanatic.”
Dr Frank’s greatest area of passion is in building for generations through counselling, writing, personal development and Mentorship. He can safely say he has discovered his purpose, as far back as he was 18 years of age. The reason of his existence is hinged on Building dreams into a legacy through inspiration, adding value and equating individuals to be better versions of themselves.
He said that challenges are part of any journey. There is not much difference in life when it comes to challenges but in his case because of his condition it became a double hurdle. The biggest challenge he had is to have people take him seriously as he had to drive a corrective narrative.
He added that: “Especially with the view that people living with albinism are disabled, most would think you can’t really be that good at a given task. On most cases you would go in a space whilst on the minus already because of the condition. However, my greatest breakthrough in all that has been learning, accepting to be me and bringing the best to the table, as quality spoke for me.”
“When Mother Theresa said, ‘Charity begins at home’, I am the product of her words. My dream and goals in life wouldn’t be a reality if it hasn’t been for the support of my family. My family has been the greatest reason I am what I am today,” he said.
Frank evidently wears many hats so I asked him how he balances all this, maybe he has a secret ingredient to his sucess we can follow.
“I believe that every gifting or talents one may possess have a season and time to be effectively in use. Furthermore, it’s a matter of understanding your own capacity and how to make it a vehicle to the bigger picture. On balancing them, it’s a matter of creating time for each vehicle to be useful because time can never be enough, this is a basic concept of time management.”
Life’s hurdles have a way of teaching valuable lessons. If you see someone jump over there’s probably a fence. Having asked the lessons Frank continues to learn within the albinism community he said,
“They are a lot, but I will try to share the ones that are close to my heart, and I believe can be of impact. How you see yourself is what matters most and nothing can beat quality, always give your best and be good at what you do. Nothing for us without us. You attract who you are and not what you want hence to stop living to prove the world yet prove yourself you are worthy of the best in life.”
“Being born different doesn’t mean you are INADEQUATE. Live your life to the best of how you want to be remembered,” said Frank.