People with albinism and other mourners listen to proceedings during the funeral of kidnapped and murdered albino girl Gabisile Shabane and Nkosikhona Ngwenya in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga. Picture: ANA/Balise Mabona

Emalaheni - Two organisations fighting for the rights of people with albinism on Saturday appealed to members of the public to protect and treat albinos like any other people.

Ntando Gweleza of Beauty By Nature organisation said he struggled to get a job because of his albinism. He was addressing about 5000 mourners in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga during the funeral service of Gabisile Shabane, a 13-year-old girl with albinism who was kidnapped in January along with another child from their home in Hlalanikahle before they were later found murdered.

“Albinism is not a curse. Some people spit on the ground when they see us,” said Gweleza. “When I went for an interview for my job I was asked three times immediately after I entered the interview room whether the CV I submitted was really mine. We are also people and we were created by God,” he said.

Andile Ngcobo of Masiqoqane Albinism Foundation called on the producers of television dramas to make programmes that could contribute to the fight against albino killings.

The two children were buried at a local cemetery. They were kidnapped on the night of January 28, allegedly by three men who entered the house through a broken window. Gabisile Shabane’s headless body was found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan, east of Pretoria in the third week of February.

The body of 15-year-old Nkosikhona Ngwenya was found on the side of the N4 freeway in Mpumalanga in the same week. Traditional healer Thokozani Msibi, Brilliant Mkhize, Themba Thubane, and Knowledge Mhlanga were later arrested and charged with kidnapping and murder.

All the accused were denied bail by the Witbank Magistrate’s Court early this year and the case was postponed on October 11 for trial on August 19 next year in the Delmas High Court. The Shabane family had to wait for DNA test results on Gabisile’s body before they could bury the children. 

Mpumalanga co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Speedy Mashilo told the mourners government would look into the concerns raised by the organisations.

African News Agency (ANA)