Can You See Us? Joseph is John Chiti, the true story

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Can You See Us is a peculiar movie released on Netflix in August 2023, based on a true story. The protagonist is Joseph, based on Zambian singer & songwriter John Chiti, a young man born in Zambia who was discriminated against from an early age because of his albinism. His difficult family situation and experiences as a bullying victim at school didn’t prevent him from realizing himself as a person. Today, John Chiti is an outstanding personality against discrimination and human rights. Let’s discover his story.

You can watch the official trailer for Can You See Us? here on Youtube.

Can You See Us? Joseph is John Chiti, and this is his true story

Joseph, the protagonist of the 2023 Netflix movie Can You See Us, is based on the true story of Zambian singer and songwriter John Chiti. John Chiti is an esteemed personality of contemporary African music. He’s also the founder and director of the Albino Foundation of Zambia, which works to raise awareness about albinism and support equal societal rights for people with this condition. You can find John Chiti’s music on Youtube, a fascinating mix of gospel music and afrobeat. Below, you can listen to one of his latest releases, a remix of the classic gospel song Lawyer Wanga.

Lawyer Wanga - John Chiti {Official Video}

There aren’t many sources on the Internet telling the true story of John Chiti, but one of the most complete biographies was published on Facebook by Zambia’s Church Newspaper. His story is below, integrated with some statements he released in recent interviews.

John Chiti was born in Ndola, Zambia, in 1985. He is the first child in a family of six. As a little child, he was rejected by his father because of his albinism, and he lived with his mother. However, his mother died in 1995, and after that, he lived with his father and stepmother, who slowly learned to understand his condition.

“When I was born my family was confused. They couldn’t believe that I belonged and this led to the divorce of my parents.”

He started his primary education in 1992, but like other children born with albinism elsewhere around the country, he faced serious discrimination from his class and schoolmates. As a young man, the discrimination negatively affected his self-esteem and academic performance.

“Being the only albino person at the school at that time, my life was depressing. Teachers and my fellow pupils isolated themselves from me because of my condition. I remember not even the pupils could share a desk with me.”

Things got better in 2000 when he moved to a different school to do his junior secondary education. He had no problems fitting in the new school because it was a special school for pupils living with some disabilities. In that period, John Chiti also connected with Christianity, thanks to the Pastor who visited the school every Sunday. This represented a crucial turning point in his life, leading him to become a gospel music writer.

Chiti started his music career during his high school days when he joined a musical band and became the lead singer. There were times when he could even use his school fees and upkeep money for studio time.
In 2005, a year after completing high school, he took up music as a profession. His hard work in music paid off when in 2007 he won a recording contract with Crystal Studios.

He had his break on the local music scene following his release of hit songs such as Ifindingile and Ngoleya. These two tracks received so much airplay that Chiti became a household name within the year 2007. Although since time in memorial his albinism worked to his disadvantage, this time around, it worked to his advantage as society came to realize that albinos were just as good as any other person and could also record good music.

John Chiti - Ifindingile (Official Video)

In 2008, he won the Zambia Ngoma Awards for the best upcoming artist. Later that year, he won the Humanitarian Award for being the first person living with albinism to have ever become a recording artist in Zambia.

Today, John Chiti is married, has two children and is an established artist in African gospel music, representing a way to connect his faith with his creativity.

“Changing my type of music was just a way of reconnecting with my background. At the time, I found myself in the wrong place. I told myself to go back to where I came from due to the point that I could not cope with the lifestyle in secular music.

It’s either one had to compromise to fit in. But that was not the case for me. I just had to go back to my Christian life despite losing friends, fans, and opportunities along the way. I will still continue to minister the word through music and know that my God is able.”

In Can You See Us, Joseph, the character based on the true story of John Chiti, is interpreted by Thabo Kaamba (as a young boy) and George Sikazwe (as a adult man).

Read other true stories behind movies and TV series on Auralcrave