Weah Bangura: Sierra Leonean model with albinism who’s rocking Sydney’s runway
In commemoration of Albinism Awareness Day we get to meet Weah Bangura, a Sierra Leonean model with albinism whose encouragement from his mom has pushed him to believe in himself. Bangura walked on the runway during the Australian Fashion Week. His success brings more awareness that those with albinism are human just like every human being.
For people with albinism living in some parts of Africa life can be difficult. Persons with albinism often face numerous forms of discrimination and persecution, and they have been victims of horrific crimes in several African countries.
The killing of people with albinism is not restricted to Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique, but the scourge has also spread its tentacles to West Africa. In Sierra Leone a boy was born in an unforgiving environment. Weah Bangura, was born with albinism but the civil war that ravaged the country gave him an opportunity to escape.
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He left Sierra Leone for Australia and all the teasing and oddity he’d encountered back home as a child stopped. No one stared at him or made him feel different. He didn’t have to be locked up in the house and guarded against those that would use his body parts and hair to make potions.
The superstition surrounding albinism is one that has posed a serious challenge to the continent. People with albinism are viewed as having supernatural powers that can bring wealth and luck. This superstition has made many of them targets of ritual killings.
Bangura’s move to Australia unlocked the potential in him. Instead of sitting down at home all day as he used to due to fear of being abducted, he explored his talent in running and football. The freedom he found allowed him explore other facets of his life.
Having moved to Australia at the age of five in 2003, he quickly adapted to the country. At the age of nine he found an interesting TV station, FashionTV. That eventually influenced his decision in life, to be a model. This discovery was in 2012. Little did he know that four years later in March 2016 he’d be scouted for an Evo hair campaign.
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The Evo hair campaign led to many more people having an interest in his talent. Five Twenty Model Management immediately developed an interest in him, leading him to have a meeting with Ryan Hall, an agent.
Bangura has gone on to model for the likes of Toni&Guy and P.E Nation, and been featured in the pages of 10 Men and Oyster. Just recently, he walked for Justin Cassin at the Australian Fashion Week, his biggest event ever. Just 19 years of age, Bangura whose skin pigment was a source of ridicule, has found that his skin is an added advantage in the fashion industry.
A tattoo on his chest reads, “live a life that leaves a mark on the world.” The young man is definitely doing that. Bangura is not silent about raising awareness on albinism. He’s looking forward to breaking forth into the U.S. and European markets.