At a beauty shop in downtown Nairobi, shelves packed with so-called skin lightening creams in luxurious packets and names such as Fair & Lovely, Venus, Lady Diana and Fairever fill almost an entire aisle. \nJeanne, who is on a visit from Rwanda, is selecting a cream and notes they are very popular in her homeland as "the women want to brighten their skin. Our men like light women," she says. \nJeanne has used skin-lightening creams for six years, and says she does not plan to stop. \n"My husband and other people give me compliments now," she says, but admits that she sometimes gets black spots on her face. \nSkin-lightening cream is no ordinary facial cream. Some contain mercury, which is known to cause neurological and kidney damage, speech and hearing impairments, and can also lead to psychiatric disorders. \nThe other ingredients in skin-lightening creams include hydroquinone, which can cause blue-black discolorations and also lead to neuropathy, a disease of the nervous system. Numerous studies worldwide have shown that women using the creams have suffered mercury poisoning. Modern lightening creams are somewhat milder, but can still bring unwanted results. \nPatrick Munyiri, a cosmetician at a beauty center and school in Nairobi, discourages his clients and students from using them. \n"You can use it for a while, but after a few years you will see the repercussions. You get pimples, rashes or black spots that turn into wounds. Often they don't heal. You're stuck with it". \nHe says young girls know the creams are dangerous, but do not heed the warnings. \nAngelica, a customer at a downtown beauty shop, says she once tried a lightening cream. \n"But my skin reacted very badly. Now I would not try it again. And I think it looks weird to have different colors in your face and on the rest of your body," she says. \nThe wish to look lighter runs deep in many African societies. \nIn Nigeria, where the use of skin-lightening creams is widespread, an estimated 77 percent of women use them. In Senegal, the figure is 52 percent, in South Africa 35 percent and in Mali 25 percent. \nResearchers in South Africa have pointed out that "society has a significant impact on the misuse of skin-lightening agents. It is known that the majority of black men prefer light-skinned women as partners, girlfriends or wives." \nThese opinions resound at shopfloor level. \n"Our men make us do it! Most girls and women know its dangerous, but they don't care. If a lighter woman walks in to a room, she'll get all the looks," says Macerlin, a beauty shop assistant.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete