As artists, we always aspire to inspire. Most times, creatives are the ones that best articulate their perceptions and somehow recreate whats already been done in their own way to express their appreciation of the craft. My knowledge of that thought and experience broadened when a close friend of mine who is an Anthropologist wrote a Journal-entry style personal reflection inspired by my most recent collaboration called Mmamodimo Wathlago. She connected her studies with her own life experiences, beliefs, and emotions. The mechanics of her writing about me Boitumelo Rametsi will only bring authentic engagement of social differences, trigger challenging thoughts and ignite the flame to world change. This is what she had to say:

Skin colour has been universally accepted as a social construct formed to divide the differences that we see in each other to persuade a hierarchy for those that felt aesthetically better. Imagine being black and divergent to the ordinary pigmentation. To add on to that, imagine being a big girl that is considered to be disfigured and too large to be dressed beautifully. You basically become a plaque in society that no one wants to be associated with. Your opinion is sidelined and your character is not considered.

Fortunately, the paradox of all of this is learning to accept myself as a multidimensional human being. I share the prospects of a Dalmatian dog and a Holstein cow. To these animals, black and white patches on their skin may be mere spots. However to me it is the privilege to wear my apartheid history which has largely influenced my perspective about who I am and how I am received. My spots are brazen, they are organic, they are real. I am made from a splash of soil with a sprinkle of glitter.

I am the artifact of being raised by a single mother, in land that was meant to be impure. I am Soweto, and Soweto is me. Take a look at my spotted beauty, you’ll see the variation of black people. We are small, we are big, we are together, we are apart, we are educated, we are illiterate, we are lazy and we are driven. This is not what they call confidence, it is who we are. I am one with the roots beneath a tree, a metropolitan version of my ancestors. The constant change in me is equivalent to a rite of passage.

Let us not be diluted by our social standing, know who you are and be proud of that ever changing truth. Vitiligo shouldn’t be denounced to a personal opinion of what you regard as stunning. It should take a lot more from one to be able to practice prejudice. Liberate your mentality by opening up to variation.

Thando Monica Shiba/Anthropologist