Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

A long time ago, around the time that Trust Bank went under with our terminally ill neighbour’s life savings, I used to be flat mates with a lovely young lady from somewhere down south. She was a stunning black beauty (a deep-black gem a kind rarely seen in Kenya those days).

One day she said to me, ‘Tam, I’m sexually and emotionally starved, I need a boyfriend. Why do the ‘half-caste’ girls have all the nice guys?’ Fact is some black Nairobians equate biracial (aka ‘.5’ or ‘pointi’) with superior social and economic status placing them somewhere in between White and Asian people. These snobs, usually wearing emerald-colored contact lenses, like posing in roach-infested nightclubs combing tobacco-stained fingertips through the tangled blonde weaves sewn on their heads. I replied in a lisp because I used to wear teeth braces back then: ‘Join the queue thithta. I know how you feel because I too desperately need a boyfriend but any caste will do.’ Anyway deep in her mind she was convinced that the reason she didn’t have a steady guy was because she was pitch-dark in complexion. You’ll be amazed the number of people who have self-image issues.

So Janice went out and bought some skin lightening creams which came in yellow tubes, it’s not legal to sell them any more. I said please do be careful you don’t need that poison, you really look amazing just the way God made you, however if you must then don’t leave the tubes lying around in the bathroom I might confuse them for that cream I use to treat my piles. Her mind was made up to attempt to dilute her blackness and nothing would stop her. Well, the results in a few short months were extreme. Soon she looked yellow all over even difficult to ‘treat’ areas like knuckles, knees, ankles, and elbows. She felt vindicated when she shortly hooked herself a nice guy who loved to show off his light-skinned catch.

One Saturday night we were all at the flat jus’ chillaxin’, too broke to go anywhere listening to Musical Youth, ‘how does it feel when you’ve got no food?’ when the boyfriend chanced on a photograph of a younger ‘old’ Janice in the drawer where we used to hide our stash of weed (highly illegal in Kenya make sure you never get caught or they’ll make an example of you unless you have friends in high places – lol!). He asked aloud, ‘Who is this?’ Janice looked spooked but she recovered quickly and lied: ‘It’s my cuzin from bek home.’ The boyfriend looked at the picture again and said, ‘Your cousin is one deadly chick’ but he didn’t mean she had chlamydia (now that's deadly) that’s just the way we used to talk then. Then we carried on passing the spliff on the left hand side.

A year later I was overjoyed to learn they were expecting a baby. When baby Tandy finally arrived she was an original dark copy of her mother. 100% African.

Sting in the tail is that the boyfriend left them because he felt cheated to discover that he had been dating 'local' all along....


  1. Gaai!! Aki some men can make you feel like hitting 'em in the crotch!!! Sa kwanini aka mwacha?? HUH!!! Black is beauty! Wacha wajifanye as if NKT!

  2. T,

    I have also experienced the bleaching drama with one of my relations who it backfired and she was left with dark patches and spots all over her face. Woishe. Poor woman. ))-:

    I, on the other hand, have always been the envy of some people given my natural (pronounced 'nashoral') light skin-ness. Its all good. If I were them I'd be jealous of me too!

    In addition, given my regular interaction with sex workers and MSMs, I have noticed that a large number of them use these products which they call 'mkorogo' meaning, to those of us who studied English, mixture. They go out and buy as many complexion enhancing creams they can get, mix all of them an apply regularly and within a short time, they glow and get a whole new complexion all with the the skewed thought that being light skinned will make you beautiful and more loved and thus more sought after. NOT!

    Black is beautiful. But honey, light is TIGHT! Give me a hey, hey. Hey! Hey!

  3. I dont understand where the positive bias for light skin came from. Like many things in this world, that is seemingly backwards given the health benefits of being darkskinned. Melanin, the dark skin pigment, is even linked to pineal gland function. The negative conditioning is very deep set though...amazing how we can be conditioned so effectively????!!! Melanin worship is just at bad as the negativ bais agaisnt dark skin though...My hope is that the collective human soul is growing towards an unconditional love of diversity :-)

  4. Sad what your friend had to go through. My mum was fortunately close by the save me from the bad effects of bleaching creams. I was so far you could see the green viens beneath my skin and to make it worse, the center of my face of fair while the sides were black. Mum laughed and told me to go on the vaseline diet. 2 weeks later, i was back to my natural brown color.

    Surprisingly enough I know quite a number of folks who bleach but their blackness is stubborn as hell and doesn't budge @ all! LMAO

  5. Who uses bleaching creams today! Gosh that is so 30's & 40's! My relative (bless her soul) loved to smother her face with Ambi. Now a mara' will tell you that pronouced with a luhya accent, Ambi takes on the meaning of what we discard at the other end of our bodies, after enjoying what was in the mouth(food). And so her husband was always hurrying her up in the morning lest they get caught up in morning Naairobi traffic...because she still has to smother the ammbi on her face! The results were however stunning because she had the brightest, smoothest face on the block, She was the envy of the other mamas who by the way could not afford ambi, It was priced higher than Sussana for maids (pomade!)and Butone etc. My relative could afford it because she had a good job as a Nurse. Her husband grumbled but it was a grumble in jest saying loudly and while standing next to the car so the masses who were tramping by also on their way to work would hear of this lady who is applying very expensivve ammbi on her face and in the process making him late for work! The passer-bys would slow their hurried jog to Industrial Area by passing thru our estate and chat with my relative to give him pole because the wife must be in a state of anger to have applied Ammbi on her face, when there were perfectly cheap oils like vaseline!Or was she dorning tribal marks to signify a war, bdut when the spouse came out the door a gasp went out of the people....they had never seen such a beatiful face, glowng like a flourescent lamp, though dimmed; the smoothest, softest looking skin and without a flaw an the complexion curtesy of ammbi...the most beautiful chocolatey brown skin that was a perfect match with our africaness, that does not have to borrow from the pointi. Her husband staged this little drama regularly in front of his house at peak times to show people that it can be done tastefully and without kutoa madoa doa yote kama Jackson. So creams not bad, it is your motive ( and how you are going to use it....wear a mask and cheat or just use it sparingly without now feeling restrained to shift your roots from Bondo to Sychelles because the extent of use of the bleach warrants a relocation to where the "yello" peole live!. My relative was happy because when his wife came home, she washed off the aambi,wore her usual face and made good dinner for her tribe! And the moral of the story: the chamelion changes color but it is still a chamelion!

  6. point is gd but ur post is laced wth lots of rubbish.I am biracial and have not experienced any of that treatment,then what do u mean 'locals' is it that lighter blacks are not indigenous, I doubt the very authenticity this story.

  7. Hi Anon,

    Sort out your anger issues sweetie, you are also rude and immature. I haven't the time to babysit. When you learn basic social skills you'll be most welcome. xxx xx


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