Fadzai Manyeza - Dark is Beautiful

For the longest time, I have always been bullied about my dark skin. Most guys would tell me how no one likes dark skinned girls and I will never find anyone who will love me. I had already accepted that until I met my now ex-boyfriend and that all changed. For once I finally felt loved despite my “unattractive” skin tone but little did I know that he would drop the bombshell that would change everything. At the time he was aware of my Dark is Beautiful movement. I was extremely shocked when he told me to bleach my skin so he does not catch feelings for other light skinned girls. He even went on sending me a picture of how light I should look. I was unbelievably angry that not only are people so shallow minded like that but also the fight to eradicate this discrimination was far from over.

What made you say no. The gust behind your wings, like what gave you the will power to stand up for yourself & day no. 

"I came to a point where I was sick to the bone of always living my life according to how other people say I should. That righteous anger in me refused to become his doormat and that’s where I got the strength to say no and to walk away. Was it an easy thing? Of course, not, breakups are never easy but I know my worth and cannot succumb to such disrespect "

Do you think if it was anyone else they would’ve agreed? Perhaps maybe they wouldn’t have seen a problem with it etc?

"The problem is that many people choose to hold onto their toxic partners all in the name of “love” yet they do not understand that love is not rooted in disrespect and any form of disrespect should never be accepted. It’s not like they do not see a problem with it, they do but they choose to ignore it with the fear of losing their partner. Girls in particular need to know their worth and set standards for themselves. Anything or anyone who makes you compromise your values or morals is not even worth a second of your attention. It’s about standing strong in what you believe in."

Do you think people know about colorism & that you can experience it in different ways/everyday life & should it be something that’s taught in schools & spoken up about more??

"I think that people definitely know about it but are ignorant to actually take a moment and unpack why it is such a big issue and one of the main causes of depression, especially amongst young girls. I visited Estee Lauder as I wanted to purchase a foundation. I got there and the makeup artist tried 7 different shades of foundation on my skin and on the 8 the attempt she said: “you are too black for foundation, you are making this very difficult for me I cannot wait for you to leave the store”. So I left the store obviously without foundation and questioning why my skin tone is seen as such a burden. Colourism must most definitely be taught in schools but before we even get there it starts at home. In some families, the light skin child is treated much better than the others and it is said openly how the light-skinned child is pretty and the dark-skinned child is ugly. Children then grow up always feeling like their skin tone puts them on some sort of pedestal and that’s where it all starts. More platforms need to be created for people to speak about his issue"

What’s your message to any young millennial/gen z African girl whose experienced colorism?

"Your skin tone is not a burden but it is a blessing. It is not a badge of shame but a symbol of Africa’s finest. You are absolutely gorgeous, unapologetically dripping melanin and no one can tell you otherwise. I always tell girls to flaunt their dark chocolate skin because, hey, everyone loves them some chocolate "

I am thankful that Faadzai's story caught my attention and that she agreed to be interviewed on such a public platform to inform and inspire young millennial women who are silently going through colourism. What I've learned from this is to confidently and bravely stand your ground against people who critique or ridicule you for what is natural. 

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