Celebrating ZAlebs with Albinism

September is known as Albinism Awareness month in South Africa and as part of raising awareness, let’s appreciate our favourite ZAlebs living with albinism.

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:45 PM  | Top of The


Albinism is known as a condition of having a complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin hair and eyes. 

Refilwe Modiselle

Refilwe Modiselle is one of the most popular personalities in South Africa living with albinism. Refilwe is Bontle and Candice Modiselle's older sister and is an inspiration for anyone living with albinism as she never gave up on her dreams regardless of the difficulties she might have gone through. 

Bontle is very protective of her sister, especially when it comes to the negative perceptions some people may have about albinism. Bontle has mentioned that her sister's drive and determination has taught the entire Modiselle household to be a family of courage.  

Michelle Mosalakae


Michelle Mosalakae made her TV debut when she joined the Isibaya team as a traditional healer named Zakhithi. Michelle is a Rhodes University graduate and back in university, she directed a play called 'Reza de Wet'

Since her debut in the entertainment industry, her following has grown drastically and more people are starting to appreciate her beauty and talent as well. She slays in any hairstyle, any color, any texture and her eyes are just a reflection of her soul.

Thando Hopa


With a mission to change the perception of beauty in the entertainment industry, lawyer, and model Thando Hopa is here on a mission. 2017 has been a great year for her thus far. 

From being the first black South African to appear on the 2018 Pirelli Calendar alongside P. Diddy and Lupita Nyong'o amongst other international stars to dazzling on the August cover of Marie Claire.

The model says she owes all this to designer Gert Coetzee who is the reason why she's a model today.

Sanele 'Junior' Xaba

The model is not as widely known as his female counterparts but he enjoys quite a fruitful international career. In fact, he is South Africa's first international male model with Albinism. 

Speaking to City Press last year, Xaba revealed, “when I reached puberty, I was terribly insecure; I had so many questions for my mum, like: ‘Why is my hair different?’ and ‘What’s up with my skin?’ People would turn around and stare. I mean, they would actually trip. I got angry, even though I knew these people lacked education. At the time, I thought: I don’t want to be different; I don’t want to put on sunscreen every day!”

He was later scouted at age fifteen and found confidence in his work as a model. 

Like Modiselle and Hopa, Xaba uses his platform to educate others about albinism and hopes to open his own agency in Durban specialising in “models with unique looks and colours” by the time he is 30.

While we're on the subject, have you seen the latest Smirnoff ad with Congolese-French DJ Jeffrey Jewell? Jewell partnered with the brand for their latest "We're Open" campaign which promotes inclusivity and speaks about his struggles wanting to play in and around Africa while worrying for his safety considering the prevailing beliefs around people with albinism. 

Check it out below: 

Main image credit: Instagram.com/@thandohopa