Bleaching: Through the Eyes of a Ugandan ‘Victim’

From time immemorial, an African woman who altered her color would be looked at with mimicry and ridicule.

It was so unheard of for any woman to come out and admit that indeed they’re using whitening creams or whatever method to decolorize their skins.

Fast forward 2017, one will look into your face, free of any guilt and tell you; “Yes, I bleach, and I’m proud.

Bleaching is to make something whiter or lighter in color as by exposure to sunlight or a chemical agent.

It’s now a fairly common phenomenon involving both men and women; and many of them highly placed in society including government officials, Musicians, models among others.

Have you ever wondered why anyone would wake up one day and feel uncomfortable in their skin?

Sandra Kyoheirwe, 20, is one of the few Ugandan women who have bleached and doesn’t regret having toned her skin.

The Kyambogo university student began bleaching two years ago after having a ‘horrifying past’ that tormented her during high school.


“I never wanted to bleach, but everywhere I went people always pointed fingers at me,” Sandra narrates.

My old school-mates always spread rumors about me and my childhood,” she said.

This moment was so devastating for Sandra that she almost run away from home to find solace somewhere else.

“That’s when I thought of bleaching my color; maybe they would get a different story about me.” She said.

“After all, my light skinned friends looked better than me. I wanted to create a new me,” she added.

She wanted a new personality different from her past

What looked like solace is however turning into a series of nightmares.

“These days I am becoming a center of attraction, people even call me Muzungu (White person),” she says.

“I am lightening up so badly and planning to reduce soon.”

As regards her former self, Sandra says:  “I don’t have any photos because they bring back the bad memories.”

Different Ugandan women alter their skin colors for so many reasons.

For some, there’s a notion that being light-skinned is appealing especially to men.

Some of them however has esteem issues. There’s also that chunk feels inferior in the dark skin.

The desire for a lighter complexion is not only in Ugandan but in other areas too.

The after-effects however are a nightmare. Most victims yearn to get back to their former skins even though they can’t.

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