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Khanyi Mbau: Happiness is a Four Letter

After embarking on an AWOL act, which sent social median into a hysteria, Khanyi Mbau finally released a statement to clarify her status. Sp...

After embarking on an AWOL act, which sent social median into a hysteria, Khanyi Mbau finally released a statement to clarify her status.

Speaking to Channel24, following the viral incident which saw the 35-year-old reach the top of Twitter trends, Khanyi said: "I am home safe and sound. I am so sorry to have worried and stressed the country, my fans, friends, relatives and family."

“Thank you for all your prayers, support and search parties and all my friends that pulled major strings to locate me. Thank you."

Kudzai Mushonga, his Zimbabwean boyfriend in a 24-minute Instagram Live broadcast, said: “I don't know if this is the part where we're breaking up or there was something urgent that I didn't have to know.

"We didn't fight; we didn't argue the same day that she left," he said about the events that transpired in the lead-up to her departure from Dubai.
Past deeds 

The fashionista, actress and socialite is not new to controversy, with her "pink complexion" always the talk of the town ever since her photos went viral on social media. Almost white in complexion, the Happiness is a Four Letter word star has left tongues wagging, but younger women, and men, in awe.

Skin lightening and skin bleaching is a new trend with Mbau’s recent transformation making the point that skin colour does matter as more people are vying for this. Another celebrity who has gone way too far with the skin lightening is kwaito singer, Mshoza who has been all over the news. 
Khanyi Mbau and Boyfriend Kudzai Mushonga Whom She Reportedly Dumped in Dubai While on Vacation  
The bleaching trend, mastered then perfected by global icons, Beyoncé and Rihanna, has now spilled into Africa, luring personalities such as Mbau, Nomasonto ‘Mshoza’ Maswanganyi and Kelly Khumalo who are famous disciples, spending fortunes to attain a Caucasian status. 

Mshoza, the once dark-skinned beauty who burst onto the kwaito and pantsula scene with her hit song, Kortes, has undergone a near complete metamorphosis over the past six years.

An unrepentant Mbau is one of the celebrities who has opened up about lightening their skin which seems to be a trend with African women lately. In the townships the term "yellowbone" is used to describe a black person who is lighter in complexion and by the rate of things seems like everyone wants to become one.

With the hastag #Pinklivesmattertoo, showing off pieces of white chicken fillet with a happy face drawn on it, Mbau tweeted “South Africa love me as I am.. accept me as I am, here I give u pieces of me..." #pinklivesmattertoo”.

The streets of Twitter are harsh and followers had mixed reactions. @okfaffykoolkat remarked: “these chicken cuts need coconut oil”, followed by “Its not WoolWorth standards..”,@_Mambolo added: “So she is not only bleaching but inventing a race”.

Some of her admirers were more compassionate. @ramichuene said “You make me tired yazi? You're insane, ungovernable and so so bad! I love you.” With @PreshMoloi24 joining the chorus: “Lol be strong like Kim Kardashian even her haters secretly love her”.

Costing a packet

Prices for skin lightening infusions vary depending on the concentration of glutathione used, prices start at R950 per intravenous infusion.

Dr Alistair McApline of Lightsculpt Clinic explains the process of skin lightening. The use of a "drip" to administer glutathione and high dose vitamin C, to stop the production of dark pigment, which eventually makes the skin lighter.

"This treatment is not permanent and doesn’t affect the production of pheomelanin (lighter melanin/pigment). This process is gradual and requires maintenance. The positive attribute of this treatment is that it is safe, provided it is carried out by a trained medical professional," explained McApline.

The other positive attributes of receiving anti-oxidants for skin lightening are the anti-ageing, prevention of a host of chronic conditions, improving the immune system and reducing fatigue.” 

It is not only the superstars and the fashion icons and the socialites who are only following this trend, Africa Daily met hairdresser Rumbidzai Katai in Harare, who is desperately seeking to erase her birthright, to match her idol – Beyoncé.

Sadly, she can only achieve a yellow bone status – her attempts are just not deep enough. A lighter skin gives Katai confidence towards her clients.

“I was born with very dark skin and I hated myself during my childhood. People used to mock me. I wish to look like Beyoncé, my idol to regain my confidence,” exposes Katai, a hairdresser.

Easy on the eye plus enhancing employment chances are some of the excuses African women are tanning their skins, oblivious of the side effects.

This is a $20 billion (R260 billion) industry fed by the Asian market. First it was Asian hair and now the skin lightening. Sales for skin lightening creams peaked to 258 tonnes in 2012 in India – $300 million (R3,9 billion) in 2013. 

By 2013, global margins for skin lighteners were projected to reach $19,8 billion (R260 billion) in 2018 based on sales from Asia Africa and the Middle East.

Illegal market

In Zimbabwe, the craze is gathering pace as illegal medicines originating from South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo, destined for the black market. Purchasing pills and creams are easy for the well-connected, reveals regular user, Primrose Muza.

“Our customers prefer light skin women as compared to the dark ones, so this is a way to attract more clients and make more money,” says Muza, a sex worker.

Muza’s investments are paying off, as she now serves at least 10 clients daily.
South Africa banned advertising that claims to "bleach", "lighten" or "whiten skin", but is has now shifted to "brightening" and "toning".

There is no empirical evidence that skin lightening creams cause cancer, but when the pigment that gives human skin its colour – melanin, is removed, cancer could result.

Outlawed use

The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ) discourages bleaching creams. “We discourage the use of anything that changes your skin quickly,” warns CAZ. Young women and men impressed by following these trends are chasing this phenomenon - at a time with disastrous results when procedures go wrong.

Theresa Bimha, a pensioner, has applied lightning creams for decades. “I have become addicted to the creams over the years and it is now difficult to quit. The moment I attempted to stop using the creams, I developed an itching skin,” Bimha mourns.

Though there is no legislation that specifically targets the cosmetic sector in Zimbabwe, the Medicines Control Authority (MCA) says most lightening creams on the streets are outlawed.

In his article, It's time for Africa to take a stand on skin lightening, Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town, Lester Davids says skin lighteners have become a common part of life in communities across the continent which is home to an estimated two-thirds of the world's darker-skinned population. 

“These days, 75% of Nigerian women and between 52% and 67% of Senegalese women use skin lightening products. A survey conducted in South Africa's administrative capital Pretoria showed that 35% of women use them.”

Davids writes: “The motivation for using skin lighteners is linked to colonial history. Lightening one's skin is perceived to come with increased privileges, higher social standing, better employment and increased marital prospects.”

“This, coupled with influential marketing strategies from transnational cosmetic houses using iconic celebrities, increases the allure – primarily for women, but increasingly for men.”

McApline warns people not to confuse skin bleaching with skin lightening, “Skin bleaching involves the use of a cream which aids in ‘depigmenting’ the skin by obliterating melanosome granules which are produced by melanocytes (cells which produce pigment), thus causing significant changes to the pigment concentration of the skin in a short period of time.”

He adds this was dangerous as it predisposes the skin to harmful long-term damage caused by UV radiation from the sun. Skin bleaching can be achieved by using substances such as hydroquinone, arbutin, monobenzone and cortisone. 

“Some of the illegal skin bleaching products contain a mixture of these substances, with added illegal products such as mercury. Depigmenting the skin to achieve skin bleaching can cause serious side effects, some of which could potentially life-threatening, such as skin cancer, liver failure and renal failure,” he explains.

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