Albino Revolution Cultural Troupe
Where:Polski Theatre - Świebodzki Stage, Orląt Lwowskich Square 20c
African albinos from Tanzania use art as a weapon against poverty, discrimination and rejection by the rest of society. Through dance, song and theatre they achieve artistic fulfillment and at the same time educate the local community.
The founder of ARCT, Tito David Ntanga, is an artist living in the capital of Tanzania, Dar es-Salaam, a husband, a father (of a black girl) and - an albino. In 2000, together with a group of similar “white Africans” suffering from albinism, he started activities which he himself calls “social activism through art”. Their mission is, first of all, to fight against prejudices with art: dance and music. It is this revolution hidden in the troupe’s name which is to transform Tanzanian society.
It is all because Tanzania, like the rest of the sub-Saharan Africa, has been struggling with the persecution of people suffering from albinism for years, and many drastic cases of violence against them are still being recorded. The source of this drama is a common belief in the magical properties of their bodies. Parts of albinos’ arms, legs, skin, hair, genitals and blood are used to make charms, which make fortunes for unscrupulous dealers. For this reason dozens of people suffering from albinism are killed or mutilated every year. It is not easy for those who escape this fate either - they witness social ostracism, are believed by their superstitious neighbours to be “invisible” or the cursed ones who bring misfortune to others. Because of their albinism they are hypersensitive to sun exposure and especially prone to skin cancer, and also suffer from eye problems connected with their disease. They often live on the margins of the community - marked by poverty, loneliness, unemployment and rejection by family.
As Tito David Ntanga says, “The society believes that albinos are not suitable for work. Even during our performances people make the following comments: ‘Hey, their feet are going to burst this very moment, they are going to break their legs!’ But when nothing like this happens, they realize they were wrong. Our group has got revolution in its name because our goal is the widespread change of people's attitude towards the albinos in Tanzania".
The Albino Revolution Cultural Troupe now comprises 10 members, 8 of whom suffer from albinism. They present their music-theatre-dance performances in cultural events and conferences, take part in social campaigns about, among others, HIV/AIDS and human rights. During their concerts, the artists play Tanzanian kinganga, djembe and ngoma drums. They sing traditional regional songs and their own compositions, whose texts expressively tell not only about their complex fate and life in constant danger, but also about pride and acceptance of their own otherness.
Interview with Albino Revolution Cultural Troupe representative: