Lazarus. His name came from the blisters and burns he suffered as a newborn on his parents’ backs as they worked in the fields. As an albino in Malawi, his parents didn’t have any sunscreen or protection – the other children didn’t need it.
From physical pains like that one to mental and emotional difficulties, Lazarus Chigwandali has endured much in his lifetime and has since dedicated his life to using music to fight against the persecution of people with albinism.
People with albinism are often hunted in Malawi as some believe that limbs, body parts or deaths of those with the condition are magical and to be used for witchcraft. It makes everyday life isolating and dangerous for people with it.
The movie, Lazarus, tells the story of the attack, and focuses on how Lazarus has overcome severe prejudice and discrimination to become a pop star.
Since the release of his debut single last month, Lazarus has rocketed to stardom in Malawi – no small feat for a street musician with albinism from a place where a common refrain about people with albinism is that “they don’t die, they disappear,” meaning that they are felt to be more like ghosts than human beings.
Watch the official trailer for the documentary below;
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