Here is a guest post by VeehCirra who is a Kenyan blogger from Mombassa who passionately writes about life matters on her personal blog. In this article, Veeh talks about the perception of skin color in Kenya, and by extension, in Africa. She also discusses skin bleaching products and how they affect African women and men. Few weeks ago, I wrote this poem about bleaching to express my disappointment and to challenge the culture that forces women to buy skin lightening products, through direct or indirect preaching, that having dark skin is some kind of curse. I hope you enjoy Veeh’s personal take on it, which is very insightful.
The Color of Me
What do you speak of in hushed tones with your friends?
In every society there are certain topics that are considered taboos. People never want to talk about them, yet they affect our lives very much.
Growing up as a young girl, there was a certain promotion that was so popular. It was known as “Black is Beautiful, Why Then Bleach”. There were billboards all over the town, with these words. At that time, I never thought much about it. I was pretty young and my life concerns were mostly in the playground.
As I grew older, those words still stuck in my head. And I am so glad they did.
I am shocked to read every other day in the dailies, the topic of bleaching among young African people. This is an issue that has been simmering in our society for the longest time. And it appears, bleaching is here to stay, sadly.
Young women especially are drawn to the allure of lightening their skins. And understanding the reason as to why a beautiful black girl would bleach themselves is a complicated matter that can’t be done justice in a single post. That said, the truth on the ground is that both black boys and girls are altering their skin pigments to conform to a culture that is such a sorry illusion.
There are various products in the market that promise miraculous overnight color change. Some empathetic vendors ask the interested parties if they ever want to be parents. Apparently, most of these products when taken orally for example do render someone barren. Even with this information, they are still consumed and in great numbers. The search for a fairer skin is much more important than one’s health. It’s when such compromises are done, that warning bells ring. Something is very wrong somewhere. And this crazy trend needs to stop.
So, where did the insatiable thirst to have a fairer skin come from? Why do young Africans look down upon their own lovely skin? What story does the color of you tell?