Reverends now skin-bleaching?

Yohweeeeee . . . guys?
Just like it is in the Bible, guys, here means women and men.
I am not related to sungura giant Alick Macheso and neither am I related to his estranged second wife Tafadzwa Mapako. I honestly hold no brief for either of them.

Yes, your e-mails have been pouring in and tjooooo … what a mixed bag!
These two chaps, judging by your responses, are truly “divisive”, just like that other politician described by that former American ambassador to this land of the ancestors. Truly divisive!

Anyway, I will deal with your “divisive” responses next week, hopefully!
And now, what’s this craze that has hit town of late?

I used to think this was only reserved for women only. Well, at least here in Zimbabwe I thought it was a preserve for the women.

I held such strong thoughts, that I am finding it difficult to digest how a whole man, (not the biblical man that includes woman) I mean, this whole man can surely do such a thing.

Ok, let’s just say I preferred it to be a woman’s thing, seeing they have this strong penchant and quest for beauty. Honestly, I would have easily forgiven this, if only women were doing it. How wrong I was! Very wrong! Poor me!

Educate me guys, a whole man idi kuyuza here? For the uninitiated, kuyuza is a corrupted word from use, the verb. You see, in the 70s, when I was in my late teens, it was common for young urban women like me and the older ones too, to use. Even rural women too, vaiyuzawo!

What it meant was that we were using skin lightening creams like Ambi, and Butone, the hot brands then. All those efforts were in search of the elusive beauty. Women searching for beauty! WOMEN!

But for this current craze, none has been spared. Both men and women have taken to using. Huh?
You can imagine my shock guys, when I saw that Obadiah guy who wants to call himself reverend even though we (including the courts) all know he is not.

Why does he not just go to a Bible college and become one if he truly wants to be a reverend? That is beside the point.

Just imagine my shock when I bumped into him. He was all yellowy with only those stubborn dark, dark knuckles that usually give you away kana uchiyuza, the only sad reminder of his original skin colour.

Those knuckles! Ah, stubborn ones mhani. They just won’t change colour, they remain unchanged, testimony that one used to be pitch black before they used!

How I wished he had just worn gloves to hide those knuckles. Wearing gloves just like Michael Jackson, whose looks later transformed to those of an old white woman at the time of his death.

He also used. Aiyuza kusvikira aita kunge kambuya kechirungu, even though he was a man.
And all of us who met this ‘reverend’ that day were asking amongst ourselves, “Waona zvandaonawo? Ko nhai, arikudarirei?” None had the courage to approach him for clarification. He can be a motor mouth, sometimes!

A colleague later told me it was common to find men in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the other Congo (Brazzaville) and Tanzania who use skin lightening creams.

What are these brothers trying to do? Change their skin colour?
Do they hate themselves that much, that they want to become like ‘them’? Chiiko?

I wonder what they tell their children, if they have them anyway.
Even though in my mind I will tolerate a woman who uses, this does not make it right.

I really do not know why people try to change their skin colour. Some people have said these are the results of colonialism. That the colonised eventually aim to look like their colonisers.

After all, the colonisers have hammered it in the colonised, that all lighter skins are better looking than darker ones. And by the way, this light-skin-better-attitude is not only confined to Africans (the most pitch dark skinned people on this earth).

You go to India, and you find their caste system is also based on the tone of the skin.
The lighter your skin colour is, the better caste you are in and the more societal benefits you enjoy. Just for being light skinned!

And there is a multi-million industry of these skin lighteners in skin care market in India.
The Indians, just like us, were also once colonised by the British, is it any wonder then?

Most, if not all the skin lightening creams sold in the market, are a dangerous cocktail of compounds like steroids, hydroquinone, tretinoin and mercury.

Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent that is banned from use in cosmetics.
Experts have warned that the long term use of these products can lead to lethal health complications like permanent pigmentation, skin cancer, liver damage, mercury poisoning and a host of others.

According to the UK’s National Health Service website, a cream that you buy over the counter is not necessarily medically approved and could permanently damage your skin.

And yet locally these creams are available all over the place, kuMupedzanhamo, in flea markets, people’s homes.
Everywhere! Most of them come with user instructions that are written in mostly strange Chinese or Arabic languages.

Most of these creams are banned products, but you find them readily available. Who is responsible for their distribution and who should monitor their entrance in Zimbabwe?

Where is the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe? Do we have adequate legislation to deal with the proliferation of these creams? I doubt.

Information on the NHS website also says although steroids can be useful in treating some skin diseases, such as psoriasis and eczema, this must take place under the supervision of a skin specialist.

These skin lightening creams, according to the NHS website can cause:
permanent skin bleaching
thinning of the skin
uneven colour loss, leading to a blotchy appearance
redness and
intense irritation

I have seen women who now cannot spend a minute in the sun. Continued use of the skin lightening creams have damaged their skin, it cannot tolerate the sun any more.

Hameno, continue using if it makes you happy but beware of the dangers.

Let’s share more stories dzekuyuza on [email protected]

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