South Africa-based Zimbabwean gospel artist Rev T.T. Chivaviro has been appointed global ambassador for the Alive Albinism Initiative.
Famed for his hit song ‘Ebenezer’, Chivaviro (real name Toggy Chivaviro) will partake in albinism awareness campaign activities such as adverts, jingles and songs.
Talking to The Herald, the organisation's executive director Marange Gwenlisa Tapiwa had this to say about Chivaviro’s appointment: “Noting the influence of Rev Chivaviro, both as an ecclesiastical leader and as a gospel artist, the managing board of Alive Albinism Initiative has felt confident that a mergence between the organisation and the musician will be an important union, primarily in raising global awareness."
Tapiwa added that the decision to appoint Chivaviro was influenced by the many prejudices and fallacies associated with albinism in Africa, which require more awareness campaigns so as to get rid of such false beliefs. The decision to fight albinism comes at a time when the albino community in Africa is going through challenges such as stigma, discrimination, bullying, disrespect and cruelties in the past.
Chivaviro said that he saw his appointment as another chance to assist underprivileged communities through social campaigns.
No doubt Chivaviro's success in the Southern African music industry has influenced his role as an amabassador. He recently released his 10th album, Ebenezer Tirimunyasha. His music has won him a number of accolades, including a Musical Peace Award in 2003 for his song ‘Runyararo’ alongside Alick Macheso and Ephat Mujuru. In 2010, he was the first Zimbabwean musician to be nominated at the SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards in the Best of Africa Category for the song 'Mumwe Ariko Kumusoro'. He has shared the stage with the continent's gospel heavyweights such as South African artists Rebecca Malope and Mahalia Buchanan, Nigeria’s Uche, Ghana's Joe Mettle and others.
In April this year, the Alive Albinism Initiative organized a day out at the fun park area of Longchen Plaza in Harare, where children living with albinism received handouts such as lotions, sunscreen sprays and sun lasses. The event was sponsored by Nyaradzo and items were donated by UK-based philanthropist Mollin Delve.
Elsewhere in Africa, prominent musicians have also put their weight behind campaigns supporting the rights of people living with albinism, most notably Malian star Salif Keita and Kenyan artist Nonini's work in Tanzania.