Albinism is not a disease, it is a beautiful gift that God gave me. Florence Kisombe.
Posted On March 8, 2019
“She commands the stage” are words often used for a woman who is great in a stage production. These are words I choose to describe Florence Kisombe. She is very confident and carries herself with grace and elegance and a subtle yet assertive demeanor that is of great admiration.
Please share with us your story.
I was born in a village in Taita Taveta. Everyone loved me I think because of my strong personality. I am that one child who was brought up by the whole village because I loved visiting and checking on everyone.
As a child, my friends used to tell me that my skin would eventually turn black and I believed them because I really admired black skin. My parents were well informed about albinism when they had me because my older brother also has albinism which had forced them to seek medical advice earlier on.
I went to a regular school and I am grateful for that because most of the people living with albinism that I have interacted with were forcefully taken to special schools. This is because there’s a belief that people with albinism are also blind.
In 2012, I moved to Nairobi to join the University of Nairobi for my BA in Diplomacy and International Studies. Nairobi was not pretty at all for me. I got stopped on the streets by people who wondered why I was so confident or even why I wore make up as a person living with albinism.
I also got names hurled at me, zeru zeru, albino msupa etc., from street families and motorists. My first year was hell on earth. It was also the time where people with albinism were being kidnapped and taken to Tanzania.
I thank my friends and parents who kept encouraging me. This built who I am today, I gained back my confidence. [Laughs]. In 2013, I joined Doctor Choksey Albinism Foundation and became an active member.
They called me many times for speaking engagements. For the first time in my life, I felt satisfied giving back to the society. It was also the place I met my super amazing mentor, Jane Waithera.
In 2015, I joined Colour Kwa Face initiative by Nonini as a volunteer after graduation. The project involved visiting schools in Kenya and sharing our experiences. The project has changed thousands of young lives.
One of my highlights was being selected for the YALI program in Kenya. I was surrounded by over 80 young African leaders from East and Central Africa, who are fearlessly transforming their communities.
I have worked with Africa City Model where we create awareness on albinism through the media.
We bagged the Discovery Award in 2016 in France. My photos were in every big mainstream media channel. I also partner with PAWA 254 occasionally to talk about being a woman with albinism.
Florence in the next ten years.
I intend to continue building on creative platforms that educate people about people with albinism through various forms of media.
What’s your advice to the youth?
Work hard and smart. Never compare yourself with others. Ubuntu.
What’s your favorite food?
We wish you the very best Florence as you continue to shine and make Africa great again.