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Sun, not Salt.

Ayomitunde Adeleke | Nigeria

Organization: The Nlele Institute

Victoria lost 2 siblings to skin cancer, her brother and sister were exposed to harsh sunlight every day due to the nature of their jobs. This could have been avoided because symptoms were detected early but the family thought it was a spiritual attack and some thought was because they had salt in their meal. They were later taken to the hospital where they were properly diagnosed with skin cancer unfortunately it was too late.


“Sun Not Salt” is an exploration and inquiry into the misrepresentation of albinism. The project attempts to look at the various influences and myths that have (unjustly) alienated the group from society (in any part of the world). The uniqueness of their condition has contributed to creating the “myth” of eating salt. This project focuses on the effect of climate change on people living with albinism (PWA) in Nigeria and also the myth and stereotypes associated with albinos eating salt. With each passing day, climate change is becoming more than just a verbal phenomenon and it has affected people across the world in various ways. In Nigeria, the heatwave has reached unbearable levels on several occasions and the rainy season cannot be juxtaposed from the dry season. The ripple effects of climate change have affected a sect of people greatly. Persons living with albinism are dying at an alarming rate due to the deteriorating weather conditions emanating from the global climate change which makes them find life extremely difficult, as they cannot stand high temperatures.

There are myths in Nigeria among different tribes like the Yorubas Hausas and many others attached to albinism, one of which is salt. It is believed that albinos should avoid food containing salt because it is believed to cause the proliferation of dark spots all over the albino skin. Symptoms caused by extreme heatwave are mostly misinterpreted as symptoms gotten from eating salt. While sticking with this misinformation, the affected albinos die. From Dr. Samuel Adesina Ademola (Department of Surgery, College of Medicine University of Ibadan Nigeria) an article titled AN ANALYSIS OF SKIN CANCER IN ALBINOS IN IBADAN. Gives an insight into the magnitude of dangers albinos are subjected to

I want my deftness at handling the unjustly segregated group to show that albinism is not what it has been made out to be - a construct. That the lack of melanin is not an impediment. I want people to understand that it is always preferable to discuss the matter of albinism in a non-judgmental way. I want the world to understand climate change in recent times has not been favorable to people living with albinism.

Ayomitunde Adeleke  studied photojournalism at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism Lagos. He has been a photographer for three years and specializes in photography documentaries. Adeleke’s work focuses on people, culture and societal issues relating to man and his environment. His work is a study depicting persons from diverse social-cultural backgrounds that explores and questions imbalances and inadequacies in society with the hope of finding solutions. In a sense, it is a visual narrative that actively seeks to engage with society and its conscience.

Adeleke regularly experiments with innovative ideas and mediums and has succeeded in creating a niche for himself as a reputable visual artist that connects the world to stories that matter. He is a member of the African Photojournalism Database (APJD)  - a joint project with World Press Photo. He lives and works in Lagos. 

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