Bleached skin in the land of negritude

When you want to know if a woman is light-skinned or bleached, look at her knuckles, her ankles, her knees. There is something about the leathery skin around joints that refuses to be bereaved of colour. You can also look at her chest, if she is wearing a low-cut boubou, or her arms, if it’s sleeveless. You will see slashes cascading down her inner-arms or towards her breasts. Bleached skin is so thin, burnt and damaged that what would normally be a stretch mark tears into a sagging gorge held together by skin of melting plastic. The skin on this kind of woman’s upper body could tear completely off if she brushed up against a rough surface. Just as well the joints refuse to bleach. Women in Dakar would be falling apart. [Maya Wegerif]


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