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#CWWA Stories: Ruusa Ntinda (Namibia)

Ruusa Ntinda (Namibia)

Chief Legal Officer, Law Reform and Development Commission of Namibia; Albinism Activist

I was born in the small village of Okapya, in Northern Namibia. I later stayed all over the country for academic purposes. I was born into a large typical African family, where I was mostly raised by my grandmother. My father stepped in when I got older. My father was strict with me; he showed me love, guidance and support and encouraged me to view my albinism as a gift. All this, empowered and equipped me with the tools that I required to be successful today.

I was loved and generally well taken care of, however there were some family members who were not so accommodating. I remember comments that would be made: ‘I pray to God, that I don’t get a child like you’, ‘I only assist you so that I am not cursed’ as well as ‘I don’t know why your father bothers with your education, it’s a waste of time people like you don’t live along .You will soon disappear .I mean I have never seen a funeral for people like you.’

In school I was badly misunderstood by both students and teachers. I was visually impaired because of my condition .Some ignored me; while others would say that I am an abomination; others would spit on the ground when I addressed them and many questioned why I needed an education. As a defence mechanism I became rebellious and troublesome. Some teachers were okay, but the kids were quite cruel. Some students would refuse to sit next to me in class while, others would cut me and beat me to see how my blood and tears looked. This mostly happened in primary school; in high school I would defend myself so it did not happen.

As a teenager most of her time was spent selling goods on the side of the road. Any other time was reserved for school, her extra mural activities as well as helping out at the school and the public library.

The misconceptions, myths and cultural attitudes towards albinism result in the persecution of people with albinism (PWA). This has also has a bearing on how PWA are viewed in employment spaces, our abilities are questioned based on our skin and our sight. As such, there is constant need that builds inside us, for us to prove ourselves as just as capable as the next person.

I am extremely proud of my academic achievements; they have empowered me to achieve many other goals. I made sure that I become somebody through my sweat and tears. I took charge of my life and wrote my own destiny. I would say, I wrote the book I wanted to read or see on the shelf about my life

My vision for women with Albinism on this continent is that we are more empowered and confident. You can achieve anything you set your mind to she says as long as you are empowered and confident. I implore women with albinism to use the negativity that they are going through as a stepping stone for a brighter future. Use these experiences to write the story that you want to see tomorrow. Continue to stand out!

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