Refilwe Modiselle on being accepted for her 'blackness'

18 June 2020 - 09:00 By Chrizelda Kekana
Model Refilwe Modiselle opened up about her life's purpose.
Model Refilwe Modiselle opened up about her life's purpose.
Image: Instagram/Refilwe Modiselle

Refilwe Modiselle, the award-winning actress and model living with albinism, has spoken out about the importance of representation in the arts industry and how as an African artist, the lack of melanin in her skin does not make her any less “black” or African.

The actress, who recently scooped an international award for her acting in the film White Gold, spoke to TshisaLIVE about the importance of being allowed to tell African stories as an African living with albinism.

“The mindset of people has to be changed because (now) we are taught that for you (to qualify) as a black child, you have to have really dark brown skin or a certain shade of brown ... but to be acknowledged by your society and seen for who you are, as a black person living with albinism is important. We should not be sidelined because at the end of the day, I am still proud of my heritage and who I am as an African.”

Refilwe slammed people who have sidelined artists living with albinism solely based on their conditions. She explained that the reasoning that people “would not be able to relate or resonate” with an artist just because of their skin was outdated and discriminatory.

“Another conversation worth having is how people living with albinism are sidelined, in terms of the black people narrative. A lot of the time, yes, blackness of a person is connected to their brown skin or whatever the case but people need to realise, acknowledge and accept that there are different types of blackness.”

The world renowned model said she loved being able to tell stories such as that of Masa. However, as an actress, she wanted all artists to get to a place where they knew that they could play any part and would be cast based on her capabilities to bring that role to life.

“Representation matters and people need to stop marginalising us, as people living with albinism. To say that we are not in the shadows, we are people ... to not be discriminated against. This industry in particular has to do better in terms of not shutting people out because of what they think people will gravitate towards and judge people based off of their capabilities.”

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