A recent study suggests that one in three women in South Africa bleach their skin to become ‘less black’. Local musician Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi has been criticized in the local media for bleaching her skin. She says it was a self-esteem issue and is no different than getting a nose job or breast implants. She wanted to see what being lighter is like and is happy with the colour she is now.
In many parts of Africa and Asia, the belief is that lighter skinned women are more successful, more beautiful and are more likely to get married. As well, some of the ‘brown nations’ look down upon the ‘dark skinned’ nations.
This trend also extends to men, as hairstylist Jackson Marcelle has been using special injections for the last 10 years. Known as the ‘Michael Jackson’ in his community, these shots lasts 6 months at a time. He says he doesn’t like being black and as a child, his mother used to apply cream on his skin to make him lighter.