athenkosi 01

Athenkosi Kwinana: Amotion,  2021. Drypoint on Hahnemuhle paper. 80 x 130cm. Number four - Constitutional Hill: Johannesburg.


Persons living with Albinism (PLWA) have been experiencing discrimination and/or sexual violence daily in South Africa. Some examples of discrimination that manifests against PLWA include the following: In KwaZulu Natal a medicine-man[1] by the name of Gumede was arrested on charges of conspiracy to murder a female PLWA. Kaveel Singh (2017) states that “…prior to the murder, Gumede told his co-accused that he needed the body of a woman with Albinism arguing that >muthi<,[2] mixed with the body parts of a person with albinism, would make them rich”.


This particular artwork, extracted from a larger body of work, surrealistically depicts the displacement encountered by PLWAs within black communities and the whole of South Africa. In this instance, the term displacement refers to child abandonment, rejection from communities, and formal places of work. As a PLWA, such imagery highlights how my albinotic body’s existence is slight in South African contemporary society. Wistfully even in this day and age, often our identities, civil rights and contribution to society as PLWA forgotten, challenges and undermined.


As a result, constructive representation plays an important role as it influences the way we perceive and interact with people, environments, and other forms of entities surrounding us. As a visual artist in this instance, I explore and challenge the visual representation of PLWA and Albinism in South African visual culture, with the aim of dispensing positive representation as it is valuable in it influences the perception and understanding of PLWA and Albinism.


[1] “A member of an indigenous society who is knowledgeable about the magical and chemical potions of various substances (medicines) and skilled in the rituals through which they are administered” (Pauls 2019).

[2] Muthi, is a term that refers to traditional medicine.



athenkosi portrait


My name is Athenkosi Kwinana, a South African printmaker and sketch artist. I am currently studying my Masters in Fine Art at the University of Johannesburg. As an individual living with Albinism, my academic text and artworks challenge and examine the imagery around Albinism in South African visual culture. My list of goals is quite lengthy, but if I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.