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Thando Hopa Makes History as the First Woman with Albinism on a Vogue Cover

The South African model, lawyer and activist graced the cover of Vogue Portugal.

Vogue magazine dubbed its April issue "Africa Motherland". It is supposed to be an ode of sorts to the African continent which is often termed the "cradle of humanity" and regarded as the place from which all human beings originated. What better way to honor the continent than to make history by having South African model, lawyer and activist, Thando Hopa, on the cover of the Portuguese edition? Hopa is the first woman living with albinism to ever grace the cover of the magazine.


People living with albinism still face tremendous stigmatization, persecution and even murder in many African countries including South Africa. What is a condition that is literally nothing more than a lack of pigmentation, has for the longest time been shrouded in dangerous superstition which often places those living with albinism in harm's way.

Speaking about her Vogue cover feature, Hopa wrote on Instagram:

"I once said to a close friend that it would really be lovely to see a woman with albinism on a Vogue Cover, I would not have imagined that that woman would be me. "We are the ones we have been waiting for." I'm emotional, because I see progress and get to form part of a progressive story and narrative."

Representation matters. It's an important way to put an end to the "othering" of people living with albinism. What Vogue has done is not just historical but progressive and given the magnitude of the publication, has played a major role in highlighting how people living with albinism are exactly that―people.

Since Vogue Portugal's April issue has two covers, the stunning British-Sudanese model, Alek Wek, graces the second cover.

READ: Lazarus Is the Malawi Street Musician Fighting Against the Persecution of People With Albinism

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.