Creative Advocacy

Ukerewe Island, Tanzania

Photos by Chihiro Tagata Fujii

Left to Right: Mr John Sagatti, Mr John Chiti, Mr Sixmond Mdeka

This year, Standing Voice led an exciting advocacy project designed to spark conversation in Tanzanian communities about the genetic origins of albinism. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the project aims to bring together scientists and artists from across the UK and Africa to showcase the science of albinism in a socially relatable way.

Community Performances on Ukerewe Island

In November, the project reached its climax with a series of interactive performances on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Musicians, actors, dancers and filmmakers came together to learn about albinism and share their understanding through art. Standing Voice’s recently constructed Umoja Training Centre was used as a rehearsal venue. Many performances were spontaneous and immersive, inviting bystanders to interject.

Professional musicians John Chiti, Ras Six and Peter Ogik all attended, speaking highly of the opportunity to educate communities through music. For John, “music sent messages and stirred the public. It broke barriers.

John Chiti (Left) and Peter Ogik (Right)

Performances took place across Ukerewe Island. Dr. Patricia Lund provided the scientific expertise to guide performers’ articulation of genetic concepts.

Dr Patricia Lund (Coventry University, UK) and Charles Karilo (Left); John Sagatti and community bystander (Right)

Exposing the origins of albinism as a genetic condition debunks myths and eliminates stigma. This has positive implications for the protection of human rights, to be enjoyed by people with albinism as equal members of society.

Mr John Sagatti — Drama and Music Instructor, TaSUBa

November’s performances brought together an entire community to enrich understanding of albinism and defeat discrimination for years to come.

With sincere thanks to our partners Dr. Patricia Lund of Coventry University (lead partner); Mr. Melkiades Banyanka, music teacher and administration coordinator at TaSUBa and c0-lead performance director; Mr. John Sagatti, drama and music instructor at TaSUBa and co-lead performance director; and finally Dr. Mark Roberts, specialist in statistics and mathematical science at AIMS Tanzania (African Institute for Mathematical Sciences).