Zimbabwe’s first Miss Albinism, 22 year old Sithembiso Mutukura won the country’s first beauty pageant organised for people living with albinism. The pageant, tagged beauty beyond the skin seeks to address the stigma associated with albinism.
Mutukura, a social work student at the University of Zimbabwe beat 12 other contestants. A sum of $85 was awarded to her. Mutukura said, “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 Miss Albinism pageant was organised by Brenda Mudzimu Chibvongodze, who is living with albinism. Brenda was raised in a family of four children, always had a passion for mentoring children with albinism and help enlighten the society. She started Miss Albinism Zimbabwe to spearhead advocacy for people living with albinism in Zimbabwe. The mission of the pageant is to give people living with albinism confidence, and a sense of pride.
Mutukura, the winner of the pageant said, “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 event couldn’t take place last year due to funding. The event is flagged to be an annual event. With such initiatives, it is hoped that awareness on albinism will increase, and the stigma against albinos will reduce.
People with albinism have been targets for ritual killings in many parts of the continent, especially in Tanzania and Mozambique.