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‘Yellow bone syndrome’ grips the country

By Takunda Mandura

Everyone wants to be perfect but there is a price paid for trying to be perfect. The issue of skin lightening or bleaching has escalated to alarming levels in what is being termed ‘Yellow bone syndrome’ in street lingo in the country.

‘Yellow bone syndrome’ has created a perception where some people think skin bleaching makes one perfect. The use of whitening creams does not define beauty but rather it can lead to serious complications

For one to become a ‘yellow bone’ he or she must know the side effects of the use of the skin lightening creams. The belief where light skinned women are perceived as more beautiful as compared to the natural brown /black African women  has taken over society.

The essence of the being African is slowly fading away; as it seems now as being black or brown is no longer beautiful as being lighter has become a way of building up self-esteem and defining ‘beauty’.

One female observer on social media identified as Kuda had this to say “ The majority of  males prefer light skinned females, so we need to impress them, that is one of the major reason we bleach our skin”

Polite, a student at a local college went on to say “media has conditioned men to think yellow bones are the real deal. “People think kuti kunaka ndokutsvuka (People think that being light skinned it is a sign of beauty).

Several people use skin lightening creams for the purpose of removing dark spots, old acne spots and hyper pigmentation

It’s important note the side effects of skin bleaching as most people only think of being ‘perfect’. It can lead to uneven color loss leading to a blotchy appearance, redness, osteoporosis, intense irritation and neurological and kidney damage due to high level of mercury used in the creams.

Most women who are doing it are doing so to impress men. A reveler at a bottle store in the Avenues area said “Ka Yellow bone ndokuti bhebhi mudara (yellow bones are the real women).”

Popular singer Winky D highlights the love for light skinned women in our society through his song Woshora. The lyrics say “uchanzwa butter mayellow bone akutosvora (your eyes will be dazzled by yellow bones).”

Some women are aware of the side effects of skin lightening but those interviewed clearly think it is better to do what men are looking for as men are becoming hard to come by these days.

“Kana baba vachitoda yellow bone woita izvozvo nekuti vanobuda kunze kunoritsvaga” (If the man of the house wants a yellow bone better to lighten the skin because he will find it elsewhere” said Amai Tinotenda in Glen Norah.

It seems the exposure to other cultures through social media and the internet has also contributed to the rise of the yellow bone culture. Our people are now exposed to other cultures and even products they previously could not access due to abundance of information on the internet.

Mr Fortune Gwaze a socio-political commentator said“ People are finding new communities on the internet where there are other standards of acceptability and they are finding solace there. The family unit has broken down so people are adopting cultures that they see on the internet to be accepted in society and feel a sense of belonging”


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Chief Editor: Earnest Mudzengi Content Editor: Willie Gwatimba