South African model with albinism fights prejudice head on

Thando Hopa, who is from South Africa, faces many challenges with her head held high.

She is a model with albinism, one among very few in the world. She also has a law degree and in the course of her work as prosecutor, regularly battles male chauvinism.

People with albinism battle major stigma, violence in Africa

Thanda is most interested in breaking the traditional notions of what beauty is all about. Having albinism means she has no pigment in her skin, hair or eyes due to an absence of melanin.

This makes her skin very sensitive to sunburn and her eyes too sensitive to light. She is officially classified as blind, and in Africa, she also faces the threat of being hunted down and killed, or used as medicine. In Africa, many people believe that those with albinism have special healing powers. Some also believe that killing a person with albinism will make them rich.

Prejudice shapes Thanda's ambition to become role model

It is this discrimination and prejudice that drives her desire to be a role model, especially for those who are not as fortunate as she is.

She is known as Thando the model with albinism but she wants to get to that day when she is known as just Thando.

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