Friday, 24 May 2013
Pimping And Pigmentation Nigeriana By SOC Okenwa
In a report in June this year a Nigerian newspaper (http://www.punchng.com/feature/nigerians-top-users-of-bleaching-creams-who/) had informed us about the WHO report on the danger of mercury in skin lightening soaps and creams, revealing that over 77% Nigerians used such products regularly. Nigeria placed first on the list followed by Togo 59%, South Africa 35% and Mali 25%. According to a website quoted by the report: "It is generally believed that this practice is influenced by deep racial inferiority, ignorance of identity or a crisis of identity but it is important to note that there is more to it than this. For some of the women, skin lightening satisfies their need for attention, their desire for beauty as seen in magazines where models and celebrities have light colored skin. It can be seen as perpetuating the colonial belief that being lighter is better."
The scramble for beauty enhancement materials and products in Nigeria has reached its peak. Despite the fact that the late first lady Stella Obasanjo had shown a bad example by going to Spain for abdominal surgery and paid with her life ladies are going to any lenght to look good and attractive. The beauty phenomenon is not limited to the African continent alone. Women everywhere tend to look gorgeous and sophisticated in a world where beauty-improving chemicals of every kind compete with one another for attention. And sadly, these toxic beauty-enhancing products always find their way to Africa, a continent that produces almost nothing and imports almost everything; a 'cursed' clime that has made name for itself as a 'dumping ground' for toxic wastes, toxic electronics, toxic cars and toxic toning creams!
In the developed Western world we often hear or read of stories of 'fake' breasts falling apart or genetically-modified edible products flooding the market. We have heard about people doing sex transplants and others inserting some 'extra bone' into their libido! What about viagra and other sex-enhancing drugs sold openly that has done a lot of damage to our natural physiological or anatomical system? What about the Chinese drug alternative, the cheap Dragon-inspired natural herbs, acupuncture et al? It is all a twisted world we live in! And Africa, more than any other continent, remains a victim of these 'revolution' in pharmaceuticals and homeopathy.
In the east Legon area of Ghana sometime ago I had read online one weird tale of one China-going 'importer' jilting his girlfriend because she refused to use some prescribed bleaching creams to 'lighten up' her body especially the genital areas! According to the 'victim', a student known simply as Juliet: "One day I was taking my bath when Emma came into the bathroom with some cream in a small container. Upon enquiry he told me it is skin whitening cream I must use around my private parts and as shocked as I was, I refused". The 26-year old narrated further: "This refusal angered my boyfriend who subsequently kicked me out of his house and went for a fair skinned girl".
The above story, as incredible as it may sound, illustrates how some men could be plain stupid when it comes to the issue of love and sex -- trying to impose their will. You see, the truth is that many Africans, blinded by money, never really fall in love but acting on lust wittingly or unwittingly. Some of us confuse lust with love and mix it up when it suits our whims and caprices! The African men, in their majority, believe wrongly that love has to do (only) with sex and issuing orders to the opposite sex as the Ghanaian case has shown.
In Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa the use of bleaching cream is seen generally as a status symbol! And many people take to it with religious gusto. Even the President of Congo Brazzaville, Dennis Sassou N'guesso is suspected to be using the products to 'brush up' his skin! Foreign-based Congolese musicians are the worst culprits here: the Koffi Olomides, Extra Musicas, Wenge Musicas, Werrasons, JB M'pianas and a host of others and their singers and dancers. The Olomides of this world have the money and influence to continue in their chosen 'destruction' of their natural complexion but what do you say about those poor folks who buy the fake versions of these damaging creams only to regret later after subjecting their natural bodies to some extreme toning?
Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, the ex-dictator who annulled the June 12 presidential poll and set the late Bashorun Abiola up for the Abacha gulag and murder, still bleaches his skin even now in his early 70's! Former Governor of old Anambra State Jim Nwobodo was into it too. And ex-Governor of Oyo State Adebayo Alao-Akala was also involved. Babangida must have fancied a fair skin and went for it with uncommon dedication as he did to coup plotting. When he was giddily calling the shots from Dodan Barracks and later Aso Rock those who knew him from close quarters described him as 'very clean and stainless'. When I saw him at close range in Benin City on a state visit to Edo State in early 90's (when John Odigie-Oyegun was Governor) the man was looking very sparkling, well-fed, dimunitive and his chemically-enhanced skin could be described as 'mirror' through which one could see himself! IBB not only stole state funds running into billions of dollars while despotically ruling over us but he took time out to 'polish' his skin as well!
There has never been a whiteman in history who had sought to change his white colour to black! Any wonder, then, that the devil is always painted in black colour? History has it that blackmen and women are always seeking to 'change' their skin colour perhaps out of inferiority complex or even ignorance. Remember the late American pop megastar Michael Jackson? Michael, the gifted son of the Jacksons, a black American family, was born handsomely black but after he hit fame and fortune from music he developed a bizzare 'taste' for another colour other than that he came to this world with. Alas he had lived to regret his complexion change adventure with reports indicating that on one occasion his surgically-altered nose fell off from his face leading to an embarrassment!
This bleaching stuff could be said to be the major reason I never married a Nigerian girl from Igbo extraction. The babe I should have married way back in 2005 became suddenly 'too yellow' for my liking as she became a 'Jambite' in UniPort and I decided, against my late mother's wish, to end the relationship! My wife is a natural black beauty (in fact a combination of brain and beauty) and I am very proud of her. One is always uncomfortable in closer quarters with a fake fair-complexioned damsel no matter how beautiful the 'fanta' face and 'coke' joints and ass are!
The consequencies of using bleaching substances on the body could be far-reaching. Some of these chemicals (imported mainly from Italy, China, Pakistan and the US) could be harmful to the system on the long run. There is no iota of doubt that skin bleaching can lead to skin cancer, kidney damage and a host of other harmful effects. In Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa it is not only the womenfolk that use these dangerous products, men are involved too! It is not surprising or shocking to see a Nigerian man turning his God-given skin into something else. Maybe those involved are doing so to enhance their physical outlook but when one is born handsome or beautiful that is how you remain pigmentation nothwithstanding.
When yours sincerely went home early last year for the burial of my dear mother I could not stand certain practises of young girls and even old ladies: heavy make-up, bleaching of the skin, long fixed finger-nails, dressing to 'kill' and smart prostitution. Smart prostitution -- or pimping if you like -- is now in vogue and undergraduates are the chief culprits. They are everywhere -- in the hotels, in the banks, in the government agencies and ministries and even in the churches! Some of these sex merchants even go to the extent of presenting themselves as responsible citizens and blackmailing or defrauding government functionaries!
In the hotel I lodged in Lagos as I arrived in the night three sluts perambulating within the hotel complex almost 'mobbed' me with one desperate one even knocking on my room door unsolicited! Wearing a skimpy dress that almost bared it all and featuring tattooed big boobs that looked inviting I had elected to play along in spite of my state of grief. I was pleasantly surprised as we opened up a dialogue that centred more on intellectualism. And lo and behold the glorified sex hawker measured up to the task! She was brilliant in her own rights and limits.
Sipping beer and smoking some dried weeds (hemp) she brought in she confessed upon my unrelenting drilling sessions that she was a student of Unilag! I had deliberately repeated after her Unilag or Unipetrol? -- (a subtle way of mocking her claim). But she insisted on Unilag even brandishing her student ID to butress her point! She confessed to me that as a student coming from a poor home she was the one taking care of her academic needs. This sophisticated whore I encountered was not alone in this modern 'ashawo' business spanning decades.
The power of sex in Nigeria and elsewhere around the world cannot be under-estimated, folks! Remember Elliot Spitzer? Dominique Strauss-Khan? And more recently Gen. David Petraeus? Estimates place the annual revenue generated from the global prostitution industry to be over $100 billion! Prostitution is sometimes referred to as "the world's oldest profession". It is no longer enough to dismiss prostitution as a 'business' for the illiterate or the frustrated of the society; big society ladies are involved! Just take your time and look around you you would discover to your chagrin that a 'married' neighbour of yours or a 'student' next door is involved -- always dressing well and going out at dusk and coming in at dawn.
The story was once told of this Nigerian guy in the US who had a carnal knowledge of his housegirl because his wife was 'too white' for his liking. The madam was a Nigerian but used bleaching cream to 'remove' her black skin thinking ignorantly that her husband was finding her less beautiful and old! While she was away the man, who had been admiring the young black beauty of a househelp 'pounced' on her and had a good time with her consent. While on top of the 'game' however the woman caught them red-handed and raised hell! The man remained calm while the woman shouted herself hoarse. The husband later claimed, to the wife's astonishment, that he suddenly discovered what natural virginity was all about compared to chemically-altered 'private garden'!
The undeclared 'unconventional' pimping and pigmentation 'war' in Nigeria must cease! Yes, we call for a 'ceasefire' with immediate effect, please ladies! Black remains beautiful! The ignorant lot engaged in this terrible 'war' of toning the skin out of its original colour must be enlightened on the adverse consequencies of what they are doing to their God-given pigmentation. We hold, in the final analysis, that if you were born black and beautiful you should remain so without trying to be 'white' or even whiter than the white people. Doing the colour change might prevent you from meeting the 'mister right' or 'miss right' in your life!
God, our Creator, who made us wonderfully in His image cannot be stupid in His design or will! Whoever seeks to mock the Omnipotent God by questioning the wisdom behind His creative wonder will always have himself or herself to blame. Nature has a way of exposing the un-natural and the disobedient to His command. We are all here to magnify the Lord and be happy with the good things He made available in this vast garden we call planet-earth. May His will prevail in all nations!