By Morton Sibale
Lilongwe, July 23, Mana: When one Levison Saidi, a boy with albinism decided to sing at one of the campaign rallies by Vice President, Saulos Chilima, little did he know that his talent would catch the eyes and ears of people from as far away places as the United States.
On that day, Saidi used a traditional guitar, made using locally found materials like a piece of wood, a tin, probably found on some dump site somewhere, and strings. The performance obviously transcended the expectations people might have had of that simple instrument.
But it was an exploit that on Wednesday, July 22 earned him a visit by Patricia Kaliyati, Minister of Gender, Children, Community Development and Social Welfare. The Minister brought with her a modern guitar for Saidi.
The guitar was donated by well-wishers who, having stumbled on his performance from that day, felt he deserved a more modern instrument.
“When the boy performed during one of our campaigns, he impressed our partners in the US, who pledged to support him to enrich his talent. This guitar has been donated by one Dr. Henry Chiwaya and was sent to us so that we should present it to him,” said Kaliyati.
Kaliyati was hopeful that the modern guitar will help Saidi take his messages to a wider audience. The message, as is clear in the said song is a simple one; a plea to people to stop hurting and killing persons with albinism because they are human beings too.
Indeed, persons with albinism have been living in a difficult world for some years now. They have been living in fear of being attacked and murdered for the sin of being born different. It was a plea that Levison made when he performed during the rally, calling upon Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and Dr. Saulos Chilima to address the plight of people with albinism once voted into power.
When he received the guitar, Levison Saidi could not mask his beatification. Perhaps realizing that beyond the gesture of the guitar, his plea has gone far and wide.
“I just would like to thank the people who have donated this guitar and the Minister for coming to visit me. This guitar will help me improve my talent that I could be using to support myself. It will also enable me teach my friends in this village,” said Saidi with a wide smile on his face signaling his excitement.
Levison also had a message to his friends with albinism.
“We should not look down upon ourselves. I know many of my friends also have various talents but are afraid to showcase them because of how we are. I would like to call upon them to express themselves fully and stop being afraid,” he said.
There was also a hint of hope in Levison’s eyes. And voice. Hope that the assurances by the Minister that persons with albinism will now be fully protected would be true. Maybe, just maybe, Levison can use his new guitar and enjoy his life like a free man in a free country.