Friday, 12 August 2016
Photo: Skin bleaching is an insult to Africans By BONGANI MAHLANGU: Do You Agree?
For example a child may be named Lwazi with the anticipation that the kid will possess vast amounts of knowledge. On the occasion that the Mbawus named their daughter Khanyi they were probably hoping to witness her grow to become the true and proud light of the family, the community, the nation or even the world. Alas, they could not have known that she might interpret the name "Khanyi" to mean she can artificially brighten her skin.
A thought that first crosses one's mind upon reading a Sunday Times piece about Khanyi lightening her skin, was that she is entitled to do whatever she chooses with her body. After all, we live in a country that allows for and protects freedom of choice. However what I have issues with are the illusions emanating from certain comments she makes in the story.
In response to social media criticism, Khanyi suggested that her critics wanted to join the bleach mission. Being the nice girl that she is she was more than happy to secretly help them in the self-mortification process which she defended as a display of self-love. She is further quoted as saying... "then y'all can head back onto my page and hate but at least you will be looking better".
The conclusion that one can draw from the above statement is that at some point Khanyi privately suffered from horrible nightmares when looking herself in the mirror. She must have felt that she looked ugly and not attractive enough for being a bit darker. She must have despised what she saw before and then opted for her "shining and brighter", "Amper Misis" (almost white) new look.
Khanyi seems to suggest, among other things, that for many other dark-skinned people to feel better (those that sadly don't) about themselves or their looks they have to follow her example and bleach themselves.
When asked if she does not think that fiddling with her shade or complexion took away a part of herself, Khanyi responds: "...Because when you're not happy, a part of you is also lost".
There you are: these are the results of the teachings and indoctrination administered by colonialism, apartheid, modern day beauty industry, certain fashion and some lifestyle magazines. These teachings have always insinuated that a light-skinned African is better and easy on the eye, thus deserves more attention, opportunity and has to be celebrated.
Thanks to ignorance, skin bleachers such as Mbau, Mshoza, Kelly Khumo walk around bearing their artificial-lighter complexion as an emblem of their shame for being dark Africans while simultaneously expressing their wish for acceptance at whatever cost.
What a pity that the Khanyi Mbawus of this country are the so called "celebrities" who want to be taken seriously as "role models".
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that her parent(s) never foresaw that their daughter would someday use her name as an inspiration to attain for herself a brand of beauty with superficial standards.