Slice of life: I escaped my dark skin box

I was in grade four. I went to school in town but I lived in a township, so I had to use public transport to and from school.

My friend and I walked past these high school girls that I thought were really pretty. I commented on how they looked.

Then the topic of beauty was sparked. Seeking his validation, I asked my friend if he thought I was pretty. He said: “I think you’re sort of pretty but you would have been prettier if you were light-skinned.”

That was the beginning of how I perceived myself. I kept feeling like I was inadequate. Whenever anything bad happened to me, I would attribute it to my dark skin.

Fast forward to varsity: I went to the United States. This one time we had an acting class and we were asked to write our own monologues.

We had to share our monologues with the whole class and when I read it out loud I burst into tears.

There was a vulnerability that I had been escaping from for all those years because I had accepted the box I was in.

From that moment I left the box and saw myself with my own eyes. —Television maker Leni Netshiavhela (25) as told to Zaza Hlalethwa

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Zaza Hlalethwa
Zaza Hlalethwa
Zaza Hlalethwa studies Digital Democracy, New Media and Political Activism, and Digital Politics.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Stalin’s reign of terror foreshadows Putin’s hold on Russia

Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine has accelerated Russia’s slide towards totalitarian rule.

Lesufi comforts schools where three brothers died after drinking an...

Gauteng MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi assured those affected by the deaths that they are not alone

Former Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama and others granted bail

Gama, Eric Wood, Garry Pita, Phetolo Ramosebudi and Daniel Roy appeared before the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court on charges of fraud, money laundering and contravention of Public Finance Management Act

OPINION | Thabo Mbkei reflects on the African Union, Africa...

Thabo Mbkei reflects on the African Union, Africa Day and his foundation
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×