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Bleaching grandmothers!

20 August 2012, 10:58

Africans are quite interesting people from their music and dance and general sanguinity—their rich culture and propensity towards art is definitely undoubtable.

Our long dated and rich culture like the great cultures of the world has over time been sculptured and moulded by the times at hand, influenced greatly (perhaps mutilated) by colonization and recently by globalization; hip hop gradually replaces Apala and Fuji, Mosques and Churches has finally obscured the shrines, Babariga, Buba and iro or soro steadily becomes a shadow in the background of jeans and America made shirts. Some even fear that some of our major languages are on their way to disappearance.

While many of these changes are beneficial to us as a people, I fear we may have gone too far in some areas of our lives and the one that brought me here this day is our tendency to want to be like the oyinbos, the westerners.

First, we must know that we are not them as much as they are not us, we are Africans and they are not, as much as I have never seen an oyinbo trying to force an African accent, my ears are contrarily and constantly bombarded with my people’s attempt at forcing foreign accents. Shame at your lameness, because it obviously shows how unsure of yourself you are when you have to impress me with an accent that you cannot sustain for thirty minutes.

Alas, forcing an accent is one thing, it is fake, it is phony just as eating eba and ogbono soup with a super size ogufe (goat meat) with fork and knife. Nevertheless I am sure bleaching your skin to be regarded as fair-skinned is a sin to the gods and a treachery to your person.

Each time I step out of my house my eyes are greeted with varying degrees of bleached skins especially women, most especially Yoruba women. I am not saying that men and other Nigerians don’t, I am only saying that it is more prevalent with Yoruba women. From children to mothers even grandmothers.

We also have an ex-governor who bleaches; I did not mention anybody’s name o! But it is sad and a sadder scene is the Lagos grandmothers who go around displaying their wrinkled, reddened and frail-looking over-bleached skins. And make you wonder why they still bother at that age or on the other hand prompt you to hum “yellow fever” by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

What those who bleach fail to see or refuse to accept is that they have bought the lie that God is white hence beauty is white, they have also forgotten that some of these skin bleaching and whitening creams contain a highly-toxic chemical hydroquinone.

The effects of these chemicals can be seen on many of these bleaching women’s skins—ranging from; acne, burns, scars, discolourations from orange to reddish skins and an intolerance to the sun as these bleaching creams damages melanin which serves as protection from the sun's Ultra-Violet rays.

We see these effects every day and there is no gainsaying the truth that using bleaching or whitening products compromises the integrity of the skin and the invisible harmful effects are as countless as the visible ones.

Brethren as we celebrate Eid Mubarak let us remember to use this period to remind our brothers and sisters that bleaching is injurious to health and should be eschewed and kicked out of our society.

Happy Holidays.

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