The Albinism Society of Kenya on Thursday honoured the top scorer in this year’s primary leaving examination.
Goldalyn Kakuya,14-year-old girl who has albinism, historically defied societal and health barriers to beat a million other candidates to the summit of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) performance. She scored 455 marks out of 500.
The former pupil of St Anne Junior School, Lubao, in Kakamega County, was treated to a hero’s welcomed as she was met by a battery of journalists and fans who had been waiting for her at the ASK offices at Nairobi West.
She said her feat was a strong message to the society to celebrate albinism and persons with albinism: “Today, I don’t want us to celebrate just me alone; I want us to celebrate albinism.”
In a previous interview with a television station, Goldalyn said her condition initially made her to stay indoors and avoid society but she gained self-confidence and is no longer embarrassed or uncomfortable about it.
An articulate girl with an impressive command of English and a sense of humour to boot, Goldalyn encouraged fellow students with albinism to study hard.
“There is nothing that we cannot be,” said Goldalyn, rallying an excited crowd of students and persons with disability who had waited for hours to sing for her and toss her in the air.
Goldalyn impressed her audience and stirred social media with her unmatched confidence, wisdom and maturity, exciting viewers with poignant nuggets such as “You cannot achieve your dream without a PhD: Prayer, Hard work and Discipline”.
For most of Thursday, she was trending on social media with messages of hope, congratulations and inspiration streaming in to encourage the teenager spoilt for choice on high school choices.
Disability rights activists described Goldalyn’s feat as an endorsement of efforts to ensure equal rights for persons with albinism and disability in general.
“Goldalyn, you don’t know what you have done to us who have struggled with albinism for over a decade,” said ASK founding chairman Alex Munyere.
The society, which creates awareness on albinism by connecting persons with albinism across the country, also provides free sunscreen to its members. It presented a Sh100,000 cheque to Goldalyn and her parents.
Ms Matilda Tanga, Goldalyn’s mother, said she knew her daughter would perform well but did not expect her to top the country.
“Goldalyn has passed a message to people who look down upon children with albinism and proved that, if such a child is given love and an opportunity, then they can reach their potential,” said Ms Tanga.
The girl’s father, Mr Harrison Tanga, remembered fondly that day on April 20, 2003, when Goldalyn was born.
Her father’s ‘gold’
Although his wife was tensed and unsure of his reaction, Mr Tanga could not hide his excitement as he explained the moment he first met his daughter: “When I saw her, I embraced my wife. She (Goldalyn) is my gold.”
The Tangas attribute Goldalyn’s exemplary performance to team work, a loving and accepting home and a supportive team of teachers.
Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, the national coordinator of ASK, encouraged Goldalyn to keep up the performance throughout high school.
“This girl can be anything, even the President of the Republic of Kenya,” declared Mr Mwaura.