Gatumusikern Lazarus Chigwandari sat outside a shopping mall in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, when a car stopped in front of him. ”Your poverty is over,” said the woman at the wheel. If Lazarus went with her she would present a lucrative business opportunity. She seemed trustworthy, so he stepped into the car. They went to a large house. The woman asked him to wait and went inside. After a moment, sneaked a domestic servant. ”They are going to sell you in Tanzania,” she said. ”Run away.”
Lazarus was lucky. In several african countries, the murder or mutilate people like him is albino. In the countryside many people don't understand that albinism is caused by a congenital lack of pigment. Instead, they believe that albinos are demons or ghosts after the european colonizers. Children who are born with albinism will become outcasts of their family. Many fail in school because they have impaired vision. Also suffer the high degree of skin cancer.
the witch doctors claim that albinos have magical powers that brings luck to whoever wears their body parts as amulets. According to the united nations human rights bodies, a albinokropp be sold on the black market for 75 000 dollars while an arm or a leg it costs around 2000 dollars – large amounts in poor countries. Albino killings in Tanzania and Malawi (which percentage is approximately 20 times bigger than the one in Sweden) are at risk under the united nations decimated, greatly because of the attacks.
”When I was born, my parents took me to the field to work throughout the day. I cried and cried. There was no sunscreen and I got blisters on the skin. Because of the burns I received the name Lazarus, the spetälske,” says Lazarus Chigwandari in David Darg and Bryn Moosers documentary ”the Lazarus”, which premieres this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. It depicts his everyday life in Malawi, how he fights against prejudice and behave on the street with his home-built banjo.
Esau Mwamwaya saw Lazarus and tipped his bandkamrat Johan Hugo of London-based afrojazzprojektet The Very Best. Johan Hugo, who comes from Linköping, and at one time was included in the indierapgruppen Stacs of Stamina, traveled to Lilongwe to make a record with Lazarus. The single ”Ndife alendo” (”We are strangers”) came for a couple of weeks ago and today released the ep ”Timponde satana” (”Stomp on the devil”).
”The more he is seen, the more people will realize that it is not something magical or strange with people who are albino,” says Johan Hugo in the documentary. Something magical is there in any case with his voice. Madonna, who started the charity Raising Malawi, having adopted children from the country, belong to the fans, and helped to produce the film. In conjunction with the release, you pull off a kickstarterkampanj to build a house where Lazarus, wife and two albino schoolchildren can feel safe and secure.
Lazarus without thinking of the other albinoartister who fought for justice, for example åttiotalets jamaican superstar Yellowman which, after having been abandoned by their parents, and had been bullied for his pale complexion, made song after song that he was sexigast in the world. Or afropopstjärnan Salif Keita from Mali, who also was shifted by his family and in the fall released their last album ”Un for the tone blanc” (”the other white”).
After the murder of a albinoflicka in Mali decided Salif Keita to become an activist full-time. He was known as ”Africa's golden voice”, an epithet which perhaps in future will be taken over by the gun from Malawi.
Read more chronicles of Fredrik Strage