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Debunking Myths: From Childhood Curiosity to Fighting Injustice

Myths are more than just falsehoods; they can be instruments of violence and injustice.

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When age attracts wisdom, factual information dismisses myths. It is said that myths thrive in the absence of logical explanations for profound questions. Passed down through generations, these myths solidify as truth until corrected by evidence-based knowledge. 

But what defines a myth? My uncle once shared that some concepts are better understood within their contexts than through strict definitions. Thus, I would like to recount my upbringing and the myths I once believed.

Growing up in rural Tanzania, I believed that a fly lives for six days and dies on the seventh, and that a female chameleon dies after giving birth. I sympathized with chameleons, until I discovered these were mere myths. Flies can live beyond a week, and female chameleons survive childbirth; some even lay eggs.

Just as light dispels darkness, true information dispels myths. What childhood myths did you once accept as truth? Discovering their falsehoods can be eye-opening, revealing how myths arise when answers are lacking. While harmless myths can endure, they become dangerous when they jeopardize lives.

READ MORE: Shadows of Prejudice: Confronting Violence Against People With Albinism in Tanzania

As a primary school student in the early 2000s, I believed another myth: that people with albinism do not die but simply vanish when their time comes. This belief persisted until I learned of the atrocities committed against people with albinism, driven by the myth that their body parts bring luck or wealth. Those who propagated these myths sought to conceal their crimes, ensuring their victims’ disappearances were seen as natural rather than sinister.

The heartbreaking loss of Asiimwe Novath has shattered our collective hearts. Reports of the authorities finding her body sacked, mutilated, and abandoned left an indelible scar on our humanity. Asiimwe, a precious toddler with albinism, was cruelly abducted and murdered, her innocent body mutilated for mythical beliefs. This unspeakable crime is a grim reminder of the deep-seated prejudice and violence faced by individuals with albinism.

Despite debunking the myth that people with albinism vanish, the belief in their body parts’ mystical properties persists. Allegedly, these killings surge during elections, exploiting superstitions to gain political advantage. To combat this, we must not only change beliefs but also hold accountable those who perpetuate these myths—the witchdoctors who benefit from such heinous acts, and their clients in need of popularity and wealth.

As we mourn the loss of Asiimwe Novath, we must channel our grief into action. Let this tragedy serve as a catalyst for change, driving us to eradicate the ignorance and prejudice that fuel such violence. We must stand united in our commitment to justice and equality for all. Silence is not an option; we must raise our voices against injustice and work tirelessly to ensure that no more lives are lost to such senseless brutality.

READ MORE: Children’s Rights Most Violated in Tanzania, New Report by LHRC Finds

By breaking the chain of supply and demand—from the perpetrators to the witchdoctors—we can protect people with albinism and ensure justice prevails. In confronting these challenges, we acknowledge that myths are more than just falsehoods; they can be instruments of violence and injustice. By dispelling myths and confronting those who exploit them, we pave the way towards a society where truth prevails over superstition, and all lives are equally valued.

We should collectively support efforts to combat violence against people with albinism through funding, advocacy, and call the governments to uphold human rights standards. Advocacy can bring much-needed scrutiny and support to the plight of individuals with albinism. Collectively, we can create a world where individuals with albinism are not merely seen but valued and protected. 

As we honor the memories of Asiimwe, and send our support to Eyani Donald, a boy-child with albinism, who recently survived an attempt on his life, let us pledge to build a just and equitable society where myths are debunked, every life is cherished, and every individual is treated with dignity. 

The time for collective action is now. We owe it to Asiimwe, to all those who have suffered, and to the future generations who deserve to live without fear. Let our actions speak louder than our words, forging a path to a world where no child and no person with albinism has to endure the horrors that Asiimwe faced.
Rose Yusuph is a lawyer and a concerned citizen, championing equality and access to justice. She can be reached at The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chanzo. If you are interested in publishing in this space, please contact our editors at

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2 Responses

  1. It’s sickening to hear this, we have to catch the big sharks that are in power who are causing the demand for such acts.. anyway wherever they are May Almighty God deal with them accordingly!.

  2. We need to condemn with all our strength those people who believe that killing and mutilating albinos or abducting journalists and those who speak out against injustices and threatening them, are going to help them gain entry into political positions and appropriate wealth of this country into their hands and families.

    For a long time, these actions are common during times we are close to national elections. Grown up men and women using these crude approaches ro gain power must be cursed by the whole nation and every one who prays to the true God needs to appeal to their arrest and prosecution. Equally heinous are behaviours that attempt to gain power through treachery including manipulating decision making committees, stealing genuinely cast votes and walking in impunity without shame while often invoking the name of the Almighty to “help” the nation.
    As a civilised people we need to watch out against these criminals and deal with them using all the means at our disposal.

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