Life is changing for 'Albino Champions'
Participants in the Africa Film Project continue to produce commendable short documentaries about important topics in their societies. The latest story is from Irene Zih Fon from Cameroon who made a 10-minute documentary about albinos in her country.
TMP recently asked Irene about some of her preparation and background on the documentary.
TMP: Why did you choose albinos as the topic for a documentary?
“I was inspired to do a story on albinos out of a curiosity to better understand their nature; how they live with the fact of a difference in skin color, in line with how society views and reacts to it.”
As a freelance journalist for several years, Irene Zih Fon is working with several media organizations, including 'Africanews'. Earlier she worked with ‘Presse de la Nation’ and ‘Entrepreneur News Online’, where she was in charge of the English News Desk and the Bureau Chief at her home city, Douala.
Irene Zih Fon is frank about the serious problems for albinos in Cameroon.
“As compared to many years ago, people are becoming more aware that albinos are normal human beings, with only a difference in the color of their skin. Before, they incurred severe social injustices such as albino babies being killed in some parts of the country, based on a misconception that they represent ill-omen to the family; or others not wanting to get into the same taxi with an albino, for fear of the unknown. But as more albino babies are born into dark-skin families, and as they grow up in neighborhoods and interact in society, this trend is changing.”
Irene believes the situation has improved, though there are still issues.
“One may not say injustice against albinos is completely erased since it is a process. Government is doing its part to integrate them and provide support through the Social Affairs Ministry. Meanwhile the albinos themselves through a national organization are uniting and re-defining their capabilities and assertiveness. But the challenge remains at individual levels within the social spectrum, for people to relate to them like they would to others who are not albinos,” says Irene.
“This becomes easier after one has had a chance to interact with them, as you`d confirm they are just like you, except for the pigmentation and its accompanying health issues," she continued. "For everyone else, they need to seize opportunities to get closer to albinos, and to watch an awareness-documentary piece like this one!”
TMP: What challenges did you face in producing this short documentary?