Skin lightening, particularly amongst women, is not new in Africa. In some parts of the continent like West Africa, skin lightening or bleaching as it is generally referred to is common. Women are not ashamed of it. And this trend seems to be picking up in other parts of the continent as we have seen more and more Kenyan women begin to adopt it. Many will do anything to have lighter skin; be it buying the cheap “mkorogo’s” from River Road or spending millions on the expensive creams.
Our journey to find out which products our fellow Kenyans were using started along River Road in downtown Nairobi. It was a cloudy Friday afternoon, and everyone was in a rush through the dusty capital city streets, lest El Nino rains caught up with them.
As I walked down the busy street dotted with shops selling different items……..
“Karibu aunty, mafuta ya kutoa pimples na rashes iko,” I could hear a group of women call out for me to buy their products; probably because I have a dark complexion. I did not want to stop so I kept walking. The more I walked along the street, the more I came across groups of women selling the lightening creams, everyone running after “clients” to persuade them to buy their products. “Eeh nasihawa wamama ni yellow yellow,” my colleague whispered. “They look like Congolese yet they are not,” he added. Despite the hard economic times, the bleaching products business is one of the businesses that are still booming.
Well, we visited different shops in the city and here is the list of places where lightening creams were being sold.