The competition which ran for 13 weeks, offered a springboard to undiscovered Ghanaian musicians to launch their careers.

Byno, a frontrunner throughout the show, notably for his compelling renditions of reggae-dancehall tunes, beat fellow finalists L Boat, Majesti, 6ca, and Hy5, who finished fifth, fourth, third, and second, respectively. 

As a person with albinism, his triumph tells a lot about his self-belief, determination, and passion for his chosen career.

In Ghana, albinism is one disability that is associated with the most myths, among all the disability types. The misconceptions people have about the condition are as numerous as the derogatory names they have for people with the condition.

Such misbeliefs form the basis for stigmatization and discrimination against them. Consequently, a great number of persons with albinism have lost their self-esteem. They are mostly reserved. And so, it takes the muster of great courage for one to achieve what Byno has attained. That is why he deserves all commendations.

His participation in the competition and the eventual feat he pulled off serve as great inspiration, while also presenting some valuable lessons.


In Ghana, event organizers do not consider persons with disabilities when planning their activities, and that is just a reflection of how persons with disabilities are generally sidelined in almost everything in the country. If persons with disabilities were seen as equal members of the Ghanaian society with equal entitlement to everything this country offers all other citizens, which includes recreation and entertainment, the choice of venue of events would be carefully chosen to encourage their participation.

If the thinking is that persons with disabilities do not have anything to offer and so the need is not seen to make event centers and activities accessible to them, then the story of Byno should send a message to event organizers.

Byno has proven that if the opportunity is given on a level playing field, and the needed support is offered, there’s very little, if not nothing, that the person with disability can not achieve.

How beautiful it would be to adopt a sort of affirmative action to organizing events, where event organizers specially reach out to the disability community through their various organisations to either participate (contest) or just attend their events.

The more persons with disabilities are exposed to opportunities with the assurance of a deliberate system that facilitates their easy participation, the more likely it is that they will be motivated to challenge themselves to try new things. But when there are too many barriers that push them away from public events, they will remain in the background where not only the public sees them as useless, but they also believe that they are. And instead of the exploit of Byno becoming a common thing in our communities, it will remain a special occurrence we will witness once in a blue moon.

Ghana as a member of the United Nations is expected to carry out the “Leave no one behind” agenda which among other things, seeks to end discrimination and exclusion and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind and undermine the potential of individuals and humanity as a whole. In the spirit of the aforementioned, conscious efforts should be made to encourage the participation of persons with disabilities in everything that goes on in the country.


Byno’s father abandoned him when he was born, due to his condition. The father did not want to have anything to do with a child with albinism. This situation is very common in Ghana. Many children with disabilities grow up without knowing their fathers, not because their mothers are not able to tell the men responsible for their pregnancies, but because their fathers forsake them; as if to say that because the women carry the pregnancies, they are the cause of their children’s conditions and so they should bear the consequences alone.

Obviously, such fathers are ignorant about the fact that if children with disabilities are nurtured right and supported, they can rival the others without disabilities.

Byno’s father must be ashamed of himself wherever he may be seeing the boy he considered as useless yesterday, becoming a champion today.

Men must learn to stand by their women when they produce children with disabilities. They must note that women also have shame; they also know embarrassment. If the women should also abandon the children like most of them do, we would not have gotten Byno Ayoni and the many other persons with disabilities who are living meaningful lives and contributing to the progress of society today.

Caring for children with disabilities can be financially, psychologically, and emotionally draining. The load becomes extra heavy when the fathers run away. It has to STOP!


Byno Ayoni’s father abandoned him right when he was born. His mother died just three months after his birth. His grandmother who took up the responsibility to care for him also died when he was still young. Other relatives stepped in at various points in his life.

During the Mentor competition, he enjoyed massive support from his community of Aflao in the Volta Region, which was quite instrumental in his success. On the day of the final, a great number of people from the community, including traditional leaders were bused to the venue to support him.

If this kind of love and support for persons with disabilities was a common thing in our communities, what excuse would any person with disability have for not making it or not living a fulfilling life? But this does not often happen, instead, they are always left behind and sometimes even pushed further to the margins of society.

There are communities in Ghana today that abhor the presence of persons with albinism. Persons with albinism are not allowed to live in those communities because of negative cultural beliefs. If Aflao was one of such communities, there was no way Byno was going to find the peace of mind and the desire to become who he is today.

The challenges and discomfort associated with disability can be very depressing. It takes a lot for one to win such emotional and psychological battles. A strong support system right from home and extending to the community is very crucial for the improvement of their well-being and progress in life. When they are assured of the support of family and friends, no amount of negativity outside can push them back.


As indicated above, the negative treatments persons with albinism suffer from the public have gravely bruised the self-esteem and self-worth of a great number of them.

Unfortunately, very many of them seem to have accepted their fate and so, they hardly make efforts to break out. They are tempted to sit back and only attract sympathy. This has resulted in a very high level of poverty among them. As people who are susceptible to skin cancer due to the lack of melanin, they are unable to afford treatment, and this is causing many deaths within the albinism community.

While advocacy is still ongoing to get the public to change its attitude towards persons with disabilities, it is very imperative that persons with albinism and by extension, all persons with disabilities begin to challenge their inhibitions. 

The achievement of Byno Ayoni should be enough lesson. He could have also chosen to sit back and lament about how society is creating all manner of discomforts for him and denying him the opportunity to prove himself.

From interviews with him that I saw, he also went through a lot like every other person with albinism. But what is Ghana seeing today? A young man with an exceptional talent. 

Byno’s talent and stage performances were so compelling that many people predicted his victory long before the end of the competition. To some, it would have been a great robbery if he had not won. At the grand finale, it was as if the other finalists had no fans in the auditorium, as almost everyone there was chanting his name.

Byno enjoyed the support of many, including even the judges, not out of sympathy but rather based on his masterly artistry. In fact, when the few members of the albinism community who showed up to support him on the final day first entered, the reaction of the other patrons was that of a huge admiration for people with remarkable gifts. It was not about their skin colour; it was about their capabilities. That is how much impact Byno’s participation in the Mentor show has made.

For so many years, we have preached that people should not look at the impairment of persons with disabilities but rather their capabilities. But without perseverance to demonstrate what you can do, how do they see your abilities? I will be surprised if the people who followed the show and saw how Byno proved himself week after week, will continue to hold whatever perceptions they might have had about persons with albinism. I would indeed be surprised if anyone would think that persons with albinism are not capable of achieving anything.

Another case in point is the victory of the little girl with hearing impairment who won the Talented Kidz reality show last year, also put together by TV3 Ghana. Abigail, a deaf dancer won the hearts of many Ghanaians, resulting in her winning that competition. And she continues to enjoy the love and support of the public.

If people with disabilities would stop the lamentations and find ways to manage their challenges; if they would find strength in their weaknesses and work a bit harder, we will gradually be getting more of the Bynos and the Abigails who will gradually be helping to change people’s perceptions about disability. 

If your beautiful talent and abilities become undeniably evident, people will have no option but to fall in love with you. In that case, your disability will not matter. Mind you, those erroneous perceptions have been passed on from one generation to the other, and until people begin to see enough that negate their convictions, they will most likely continue to hold those perceptions. Shake off the tag and challenge yourself today.


A lot has been said about the need for the public to change its attitude towards persons with disabilities. And a lot of advocacy is being done for an inclusive society that appreciates diversity and gives equal opportunities to all, regardless of people’s weaknesses or looks.

The stories of Byno Ayoni, Abigail, and the success stories of many other persons with disabilities should be enough to prove that if the needs of persons with disabilities are prioritized in every sphere of society, all barriers taken off, and opportunities given with the needed support, there will be no limit to the kinds of things persons with disabilities will achieve. It is now time to unlearn and relearn.


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