International Albinism Awareness Day

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Albinism, Children's stories, Family, Human rights, identity, ZambiaLeave a Comment

I’m writing a new story titled The Colourless Child. It’s taking me on a new journey and I’m making new discoveries.

The International School of Lusaka -one of the photographs by Nick Murphy from the book ‘Zambia ‘ published by ANZ Grindlays Bank to commemorate 25 years of Independence

This Sunday 13th June is the United Nations International Albinism Awareness Day and the theme is Strength Beyond all Odds

When I lived in Zambia I taught art at the International School and this wonderful photo by Ian Murphy is of some of the pupils I knew. Among them is a young boy with albinism, As you can see he is wearing a judo outfit. He was a warrior and a hero and was also one of my best and most intelligent students.

It’s time for all of us to join together and end the discrimination against persons with albinism especially those in Africa who face terrible danger and even death from ignorance and fear. Albinos can also suffer illnesses caused by a lack of skin pigmentation and blindness.

What I find most inspiring about the stories of people with albinism are those of the love and support of mothers and of families and of the kindness and help of others. Please be kind enough to share this post and the links and to support the organisations.

Useful links

Here are links to various organisations that provide help, information and advocacy.

Under The Same Sun. International Albinism Awareness Day Action on Albinism Life in the shadows

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The Booklaunch of When We Were Wicked

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Books, Politics, Storytelling, When I Was Bad6 Comments

When We Were Wicked - book cover
When We Were Wicked Ruth Hartley

When We Were Wicked

My new short story and short memoir collection, When We Were Wicked has been published this January 2021 during the pandemic lockdown.

How on earth could I organise a book launch for it?

This is what happened: Celebration online, in print, and in person!

Here is the first answer – Booklaunch magazine!

I discovered Booklaunch through a friend Michael Holman who was featured in a previous edition for his book Postmark Africa – a collection of journalism from 50 years of reporting from Africa. (Michael was also a friend of Diana Mitchell whose memoir I featured in my last post.)

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White Woman, Black Nationalists – Diana Mitchell’s Memoir

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Politics, Racism, ZambiaLeave a Comment

Diana Mitchell – an important Zimbabwean journalist and archivist

Diana Mitchell’s memoir titled ‘An African Memoir: White Woman, Black Nationalists’ – Diana Mitchell (Mwana Wfuhu)

I was delighted to be told of Diana Mitchell’s memoir and bought it immediately. Its 300 pages are densely packed with Diana’s personal and political life over the period when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. It isn’t a quick read for me – every page contains so much that relates to my life and experience in powerful ways that I do have to take it slowly so that I’m not overwhelmed by the weight of her information. The strongest emotion I have is a deep regret that I never got to meet Diana. We were divided by a border and a war, but not by shared values or interests.

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The colour of light and the rainbow

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Race, RacismLeave a Comment

Chikumbi 1978 – I was returning to Zambia on a BA flight when the plane was ordered not to land because the Rhodesian air force was attacking a ZAPU camp outside Lusaka

What made the Europeans:- the French, the British and the Germans and the rest so successful at building their empires? What made them so cruel in the execution of their power? Was it that thin epidermal layer that covered their bodies yet provided minimal pigmentation protection? Did their skin colouration make them evil? Did it make them successful? Technology and industrialisation propelled the Eempires of the European nations into world domination and power. They borrowed and adapted skills and knowledge developed in the Middle and the Far East using triangular sails and guns and gunpowder to conquer, kill and enslave. It seems that humans got better and better at doing it. Exploitation, cruelty, genocide and slavery are not new behaviour for humans and they are with us today,driven by the same human desires for power, domination and money.

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Blame it on the man in the brandy barrel – Admiral Nelson

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Books, Colonialism, Family, identity, Migration, Politics, Power, Racism, South Africa, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, When I Was Bad11 Comments

Art and storytelling 200 years later by a distant descendant.

When We Were Wicked - book cover
Ruth’s latest book

Born into the British Empire during the Second World War in a colonial country that no longer exists, I’ve been flung around in a turbulent vortex of political and personal change. My art and my writing are the ways I hang on to the world spinning around me. I have no answers, just more questions – I fly around a disintegrating centre – illustrating what I don’t know or understand by writing and making art. I’ve just published my seventh book – When We Were Wicked – two short memoirs and ten short and shorter stories about saints and sinners in a wicked world. It follows my memoir When I Was Bad which tells of how I tried to be good in a colonial world and was bad in an apartheid regime.

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