It will no more be shocking to many when they see black Africans with blue eyes after recent discoveries of such special people in various parts of the continent. They are not albinos, and do not have the typical dark brown African eyes.
It wasn’t an easy experience for a black Nigerian immigrant couple in London who gave birth to a blue-eyed white baby girl with blond hair in 2010.
Doctors told them that she was a result of a gene mutation passed on from generations of predecessors without surfacing until now.
Findings of a DNA analysis on a fossil named “Cheddar Man” released in February revealed that the ancestor who was exhumed in a grave in Somerset, England in 1903, was an African who possibly emigrated to the Middle East and then into Europe before finally arriving in England.
The genome of Cheddar Man, who lived 10,000 years ago, suggests that he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair. It was initially assumed that he had pale skin and fair hair until the new DNA analysis conducted by the UK’s Natural History Museum.
A month before the findings were made public, Face2Face Africa reported the story of little Rebecca Chogtaa Dumeh from northern Ghana who is just a year and nine months old. She was born with blue eyes and the condition gained a lot of negative attention from her family and community who believed she was “cursed”.
Chogtaa’s condition has been diagnosed to be a rare genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome that comes with varying degrees of deafness, minor body defects and pigmentation changes.
Chogtaa has a minor hearing loss and Ghanaian model and entrepreneur Philomena Esinam Afi Antonio is raising funds to help her undergo surgery.
The story also helped discover another toddler named Miracle who was born with blue eyes and battling with speech impairment.
Thousands of people live with the defect all over the world and Waardenburg syndrome has no treatment or cure. It is named after Dutch ophthalmologist Petrus Johannes Waardenburg who described the syndrome in detail in 1951.
These prove that having blue eyes is not a preserve of Asians or Europeans. There are other black Africans with blue eyes who do not suffer from the Waardenburg syndrome or any other disease.
There are also black Africans with blue eyes as a result of having Caucasian relatives on both sides of the family who are carriers of the gene for that particular eye colour. The colours may vary, ranging from amber, blue, brown, grey, green, hazel, or red.
There are many black celebrities who do not have the typical dark brown eye colours of Africans. They include Rihanna, Tyra Banks, Vanessa Williams, and many more.
They are not cursed.
This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com