People don’t really pay much attention to your skin colour when you are very young, but as you start growing up and going out more, they start noticing you. Being a teenager means having fun, exploring life and its different scenarios and letting loose without worrying about what other people might think of you. However, my experiences are not like that because of my complexion.

I currently live in Diepkloof, Soweto, the biggest township in Gauteng, if not the whole country. The place is crowded with unemployed people, poor housing (there are shacks and squatter camps everywhere), Nyaope (drug) addicts roaming the streets, teenage parents, rude taxi drivers and sewage bursts every week (the stench is nauseating).

Diepkloof is not a pleasant sight but it’ s not all bad. We have a few good shopping malls, people who are trying to make a living by starting small but profitable businesses, and developing infrastructure (schools, clinics, libraries and parks).

I am a 16 y ear old girl who is tall, slender, has long black hair and is very light in complexion. Yes, this is probably what makes people treat me differently. Most people in my community are dark skinned so I pretty much stand out from the crowd. When I enrolled at my high school in 2014, the schooling experience was a bit different from what I had been used to. There was one day when we were at assembly (where we go to pray in the morning) and we were praying. When I was done with the prayer and opened my eyes, everyone was staring at me. It was freaky because I had never had so many people stare at me because of my skin colour.

Years passed and my schoolmates got used to me. I could finally have friends that looked passed my complexion and accepted me for who I was. I was at my happiest at school. However, things didn’t really change in my community. There were a few people who had gotten used to me, but the majority hadn’t.

One day I was walking home from school and I passed a group of guys who whistled and called me a ‘yellow bone ‘. Now, I have two problems with this light skin craze:
1. It makes other people who are dark skinned seem like they are not beautiful and the y are discriminated against unfairly and
2. When people are so obsessed with your light skin colour , they end up not looking at the other qualities you might have for example your mental or physical capabilities that define you.
School is the only place where I feel like I belong. Outside of school, I feel like a foreigner who has no idea how to return back home. I just wish everyone in my community could treat me like other people. I spend so much time trying to “fit in” that I end up losing myself. People should have the freedom to live their lives in any way they want and not worry about what other people might think of them. Skin colour does not determine ones’ personality or their I.Q. All skins are beautiful and there is no colour superior to others.