Documentary filmmaker Lerato Mbangeni and her team interviewed women in rural and urban areas to understand why they use skin bleaching products.
Skin bleaching has – sadly – always been a popular topic in Africa and it has now turned into a serious societal issue. In South Africa, the use of skin bleaching products has jumped to more than 35 percent of the female population as of 2016. And thousand of men are users too. A big business around the world, the global market of skin whitening products is projected to reach $23 billion by 2020.
The subject has caught the attention of a team of journalists and filmmakers based in the United States and South Africa who decided to work on a documentary about it.
Shooting in rural and urban areas in South Africa, filmmakers Lerato Mbangeni and Tseliso Monaheng, producer Graeme Aegerter and journalist Susie Neilson, tried to understand why the women use skin lightening products. In a documentary titled A Gentle Magic, they gathered the stories and testimonies of users who contrary to popular belief don’t necessarily try to increase their proximity to whiteness.
A trailer for the film was released a few weeks ago as the film is starting to be screened in South Africa. If you’re in Johannesburg you can catch it at Afropunk Battle of the Bands, Dec 2nd.