MASVINGO – The Zimbabwe Albino Association (ZIMAS) has blasted Pick n Pay, one of the largest retailers in the country for segregating and stigmatising a person with albinism at one of its supermarkets in Masvingo recently.
Workers at Pick n Pay Masvingo barred Agnes Gurume from entering the supermarket after she asked to use soap and water to wash her hands because she is allergic to sanitisers. She was chased away by a till operator identified as William, an employee named Moses and a security guard who are workers at the branch.
ZIMAS described the incident as a foul display of discrimination, in a statement released to The Mirror. It said that people with albinism are at high risk of cancer because their skin is sensitive to chemicals.
Pick n Pay which has ethical obligations as a corporate entity has neither issued a public statement or apology
over the incident which triggered international disgust and revulsion with Zimbabweans worldwide calling for
closure of the supermarket.
Efforts to get a comment from Pick n Pay were futile. ZIMAS also expressed concern that Pick n Pay has not bothered to respond to an email that it sent to its management. Many people on social media are anxious to know the Supermarket’s position on the incident. “We are alarmed and disgusted by the ignorant and blatant discrimination demonstrated by one of the major retailers in Zimbabwe. It is no secret that people with albinism are at high risk of skin cancers and their skin is sensitive to many chemicals.
“It is incomprehensible that one should be deprived of his civil liberties based on their disability. People with albinism and any other person with disability have the right to participate in all social and economic activities without prejudice,” reads the statement from ZIMAS.
The statement said reason to fear for their safety when shopping at Pick n Pay.
Despite the outrage, Pick n Pay, unlike many other outlets, continue to operate without soap and water at its entry points to allow those with sensitive skins to use.