Two shades of beauty: Christine Matyavira and living with Vitiligo

 By Abigirl Tembo I Features Editor

TEENAGERS usually go through a difficult phase as they become conscious of their looks and appearance but for those with various conditions such as skin diseases it’s a nightmare.

The ZBC News crew spoke to 20-year-old Christine Matyavira from Kwekwe who suffers from a rare skin disorder called Vitiligo.

It is a rare skin disorder that causes the skin to lose its colour, affects about one percent of the global population and 20-year old Christine Matyavira of Mbizo 19 in Kwekwe is among that very small global percentage.

“I wasn’t the first one to notice but a fellow grade 2 classmate noticed that my knees were different and he started laughing at me saying I have used cobra as a lotion,” said Christine.

Over the years she has learnt to be comfortable in her own skin and has become a darling of many on social media.

“People gave me confidence especially  on social media. People would comment on my photos then I realized that not  everyone hates me or is disgusted with me. Believe in yourself, give yourself time, anyone can wake up with Vitiligo so I am urging everyone to understand this condition, I have to be confident and I don’t need to shoot myself down.”

She admits though ,that it is not easy living with Vitiligo.

“Ninety  percent of the time it has been hectic .At school other kids would run away from me, some kids would give me names and I would  be lonely. I would only get comfort from my family but would feel left out when I was with other kids  and try to sink in the background. I  would ask myself why it had to be  me, what I had done to  deserve it and what crime I had  committed for me to look like this. Why me?”

Christine’s mother, Esinath Matyavira speaks on the challenges of raising a child with such a rare skin disorder.

“As one walks with her, it’s unsettling to notice the stares and people pointing fingers. I was really worried during the first days but I ended up accepting her condition.”

Having obtained 9 points at Advanced level, Christine wants to pursue her University  studies but is  unsure whether she is mentally ready to leave her familiar surroundings.

“I am afraid of meeting new people I won’t be sure about their reaction,  I am very shy and not good at starting conversations, from high school it has really improved its much better now,”

 I am also  really scared of going to university am used to being among my brothers sisters and dad  but now I don’t know how people will react and if anything happens to me who will I tell? I will try to ignore the negative comments.”

With Vitiligo, one can never tell when the melanin will disappear or reappear.

“It’s not certain, tomorrow you  might wake up all pink or all black I don’t even know how I will look like tomorrow or next year.”

According to Dermatologist, Dr Donald Mutangadura the specific cause of Vitiligo is unknown.

“It’s an autoimmune condition, the real cause is not known. It’s not contagious but there could be a certain element of hereditary predisposition because it can be associated with other elements like diabetes,” explains Dr Mutangadura.

Who said you have to be one skin colour to be deemed beautiful whether black, brown, white or even two shades, one can indeed be beautiful.

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