Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Other Other White Meat

Warning: don't read this if you have a weak stomach.

I heard a fascinating news clip on the radio today when I was stuck in traffic. Apparently eleven people were arrested in neighboring Burundi for murdering (or serving as accomplices to murder) a number of albino youth. The murderers were chopping up the albinos into pieces and selling the flesh across the border in Western Tanzania for human consumption (particularly in soups and stews).

Apparently there's a superstition in that part of the region that black albinos (not Caucasians -- whew) are magical, and that eating food prepared with their body parts can give you special powers or make you rich. This article discusses the phenomenon some more: It's a major problem because there are so many areas where people cling to bizarre superstitions, and because there are so many albinos in sub-Saharan Africa. Albinism is incredibly rare among Caucasians, but is more common (1 in 3,000) among black Africans; I saw albinos quite regularly in Senegal and Mali.

The current situation is sad. The people who purchase and eat the albino flesh are obviously ignorant and barbaric, but those who kill the albino children to sell their parts for profit? Surely it doesn't get much worse than that.


  1. yeah, i heard about that - the Economist was on it like a hobo on a ham sandwich. how do they feel about gingers?

    happy travels! (so very very jealous...)