She bleached my skin without my knowledge.
My name is Lusanda Mngadi, a 24-year-old girl from farmlands, esigodini sakwa KwaMadlala. Coming from a broken home, we moved a lot; our journey led us to Durban iTheku lodumo. We experienced a drastic change in our lives because of how fast the city moved. 

So much pressure! We needed to blend in, learn and adapt. We started drinking, smoking and losing ourselves in the midst of all that but what affected my life was a skin bleaching cream that was put in a lotion that my older sister and I used. 

My younger sister was lighter in the skin, who would bleach a yellow bone?! So they bought her, her lotion. 
Weeks passed, and I realised I was getting lighter in skin colour. I started to get compliments from people; they said I was more beautiful. I did not understand how or why it was happening, but I found it less complicated to fit in. I got friends and guys who thought I was insanely beautiful. One day, I saw this cream tube in the grownup’s bathroom at home. I did some research on it and found out what it was. 

I realised it had been put in our lotion for some time by a grown-up who should have known better, as we had trusted in her. My older sister was not around much, so it did not affect her as much as it did with me. It started to burn and eat away my flash, make me itchy and sometimes cause rash. Pink cheeks and a burning sensation with white holes appearing in your body until you start hiding from the sun, then people. 

Why not stop using? I tried. It ate away more of my skin. There were rashes, burning, and I was ten shades darker than my original. It is addictive, for a minute, it boosts your confidence and for a lifetime, it takes it away.

I someday wish to have the courage to ask, “Was I not beautiful enough?”. To this day it continues to eat at my flesh. 
Thank you for reading.