Ahead of the court appearance tomorrow of South African traditional healer Bongolethu “Dr Khehlelezi” Mzozo, over a video shared on YouTube in April 2023 spreading misinformation about persons with albinism, Amnesty International and the National Albinism Task Force are calling on the South African government to protect persons with albinism in the country against discrimination, hostility and violence.
Following the release of the video, in line with Section 20 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 2000 (PEPUDA) (No 4, 2000), the Thembisilemadlala Albinism Foundation supported by The National Albinism Task Force lodged a case with the Equality Court against Khehlelezi, arguing that the video was discriminatory and amounts to “hate speech” against persons with albinism.
Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah said;
“Persons with albinism are no different from anyone else. They have the right to enjoy all human rights, including the right to be free from discrimination and protected against advocacy of hatred. It is deeply concerning that those with influence in society continue to marginalise and discriminate against persons with albinism. Perpetuating hate and discrimination puts them at serious risk of being harmed.
It is deeply concerning that those with influence in society continue to marginalise and discriminate against persons with albinism.Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Tigere Chagutah
“The National Albinism Task Force in South Africa and Amnesty International call on the South African government to take immediate steps to respect, promote, and fulfil all the rights of persons with albinism and ensure that all those who violate such rights are held to account. The government must take measures to eradicate discrimination and counter misinformation and stereotypes about persons with albinism.
Chairperson of the National Albinism Task Force in South Africa Patrick Wadula said;
“We call on everyone in South Africa to stand in solidarity with people with albinism by condemning and reporting any behaviour that amounts to advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discriminate against persons with albinism.
We call on everyone in South Africa to stand in solidarity with people with albinism.Chairperson of the National Albinism Task Force in South Africa, Patrick Wadula
On 11 and 30 August 2023, the Equality Court considered the case and the Presiding Officer offered an opportunity for the parties to settle or mediate the matter outside the court proceedings. The process to mediate or settle the case failed. The applicants are now looking to the Court for just and equitable relief given the harms and violence they have submitted are caused by the contents of the video.
In addition, the applicants remain concerned by reports that two people are missing in Kwa Zulu-Natal since the release of this video, as well as the ongoing overall experiences of violence, harm and discrimination against persons with albinism in South Africa.
Persons with albinism endure structural and systemic discrimination across southern Africa. They continue to live in fear for their lives, as they are actively hunted and killed for their body parts in many countries across the region. Graves of those that have died are often tampered with and their remains stolen.
Section 10 of the Promotion Of Equality And Prevention Of Unfair Discrimination Act, 4 Of 2000 (PEPUDA) provides that no person may publish, propagate, advocate or communicate words based on one or more of the prohibited grounds, against any person, that could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to be hurtful; be harmful or to incite harm; and/or or to promote or propagate hatred. Publication of such expression is allowed if the expression is genuinely for purposes of artistic creativity, academic and scientific inquiry, fair and accurate reporting or such publication of any information, advertisement or notice is in the public interest.
Albinism organisations will convene at Gandhi Park in Verulam, Kwa Zulu-Natal at 08:00 AM on Friday 27 October for a solidarity march via George Superside Road to the Equality Court at the Verulam Magistrate Court for the hearing.