African with blue eyes | image from Nairaland
It is uncommon for a black person to have blue eyes, especially in Africa. Blue eyes are more common in Western Caucasians. Therefore when an African baby is born with blue eyes it is always a strange sight.
Blue eyes are caused by a mutation that stops the production of melanin in the iris. This mutation is extremely rare and the cause of this is still a mystery. There are various theories on the origin of blue eyes in all races – especially Africans – but no explanation has resolved this mystery conclusively.
Blue eyes are considered beautiful in other continents like Europe and America but they are considered unsettling in some African cultures. This is because of its rare occurrence among black people. There are also rare instances of blue eyes among African-Americans and this is considered very attractive.
A group of researchers at Copenhagen University are of the opinion that a single mutation which appeared 6,000-10,000 years ago was responsible for all blue-eyed people on Earth. This implies that all blue-eyed people share the same ancestry.
According to Hans Eiberg, “we all had brown eyes” but a mutation in the gene turned off the mechanism that causes the production of the brown melanin pigment.
Analysis of DNA shows that this ancestor had blue eyes, and dark hair and skin. However, having blue eyes is not that simple. Inheriting this gene means having this ancestry both in the paternal and maternal side.
Blue eyes are beautiful and are not restricted to a particular race. Having blue eyes does not make one more or less human. It should be appreciated especially by Africans because it tells the story of our collective origins as the human race.