Since 2007, a wave of macabre slayings of persons with albinism (PWAs) has swept Tanzania. In July 2008, Vicky Ntetema, a BBC radio journalist, begins an investigation into the black market traffic of PWA body parts. Her reportage earns her the award for courage in journalism from the IWMF (International Woman's Media Fund).
In "White and Black" she examines the superstitions and fears surrounding PWAs in Tanzania. She shows us the brutal consequences of these prejudices and tracks down the healers who prey on them for profit. Vicky befriends Semeni and Shida Bahati, two sisters with albinism. Their father is in prison. He conspired to kill their sister, Eunice, in exchange for money for her body parts. Eunice's murderers are still on the loose, so Semeni and Shida must leave their village for a new life. They will attend a school where no one can see their albinism: a school for the blind.
Manyasi, a young boy with albinism, has miraculously survived the murder of his sister and must also go to this school. Vicky meets the friends and kin of ordinary Africans with albinism. She admires their struggle for equality, and she finds hope for future generations in the key figures fronting the PWAs' fight for their rights.
"White and Black" addresses a very special kind of color bar, one that is manipulated by corrupt healers who derive their power from peoples' prejudices and fears.
A film by Jean Francois Mean
Canada, 2010, Documentary, 58 mins 29 s