Nontuthuzelo Sisale

Vitiligo is a common depigmenting skin disorder with an estimated prevalence of 0.5 to 2% of the population worldwide. It is often characterised by the selective loss of melanocytes (a cell that produces and contains the pigment melanin) which results in chalky white patches on the skin. Though often dismissed as a cosmetic problem, the psychological effects are devastating and lead to esteem issues. 

Over the years we have seen a rise in so many influential people coming out of their vitiligo shell and thriving regardless of their skin condition. This has helped usher in a generation of young people who are unapologetic about how they look and are following closely behind the footsteps of their predecessors by being activists towards the vitiligo cause. 

In Zimbabwe we have our very own Christine Tafadzwanashe Matyavira. She is a bubbly character, a gift to young women and boys alike suffering from vitiligo and self-esteem issues. Getting in touch with her and requesting for an interview for the Marigold series was the highlight of my week, like the queen she is, she was welcoming and more than delighted to take the interview and share her story. 

Cliché……..but let us give it a go, who is Christine Matyavira?

Christine Tafadzwanashe Matyavira is a short soon to be 22 year old little woman (LOL!) from Kwekwe, Mbizo. She’s a 2nd year film student at the University of Zimbabwe who is an aspiring script writer and a story teller.

Tell us who else knows you best apart from yourself and how does this person inspire you?

My baby sister knows me best more than anyone else. Evelyn inspires me in a million ways. She’s a bold woman who is firm and honest to herself. She’s the most confident being I know. A hero……my hero. She stands up for me in every aspect of life.

Please tell us about your current work in regards to vitiligo, do you feel you are making an impact, are you happy with the response, has it made a difference in the local, regional and international community?

To be honest. I’ve been going through a lot. I’ve kind of taken a step back. However, ever since I posted a picture embracing my skin, the outcome has been remarkable. People with vitiligo and different self-esteem issues in Zimbabwe are taking things positively and beginning to love themselves and feel comfortable in their skin. I hope to make an impact regionally and internationally with time.

We have seen a rise in celebrities speaking openly about vitiligo from Michael Jackson, Winnie Harlow (Americas Next Top Model) and Leleti Khumalo (South African actress) amongst many others. Which celebrity inspires you the most and what do you love about their story?

I love Winnie Harlow’s story more than anyone else because I kind of relate to it especially linking with when she started experiencing vitiligo patches. She was still a little kid like I was when she started experiencing the skin changes which were accompanied by a tough and rough childhood. She was being called names and stigmatized for having a different skin. However, she grew up to be one of the most recognized super models celebrated for her beauty.

As an Activist, what is guiding your choice of actions?

The way I grew up definitely! The gut wrenching experiences……No!…. I’d never want anyone else to go through that mental abuse and physical bullying I went through. I believe whoever starts going through the process of skin changes credited to vitiligo should at least have someone who is there as a support structure to tell them that it will all be okay. This is what guides my choice of actions as an activist.

What is your biggest fear as an activist?

My biggest fear is having bullies or people who are against everything that is for the good. Yes, as an activist or anyone who has made it at that, you will still come across cyber bullies and trolls who seek to bring you down. I do not want to break under this pressure and wind up losing my motivation to be helpful and make a difference.

Did you ever go through a phase of trying to cover yourself with make up?

With this one I’ve never, thankfully! I have just always been confident in my skin regardless. Thus, have never felt the need to hide. I recall my parents trying to protect me from the burns by advising me not to expose the spots. Am sorry mum and dad  but I never did and I’ve never really wanted to cover up.

Do you believe the world has shifted and is accommodating towards vitiligo?

The world is working towards it definitely, kudos world! However, I can’t say we are at a point where people like me feel safe and proud 100% as most of the people still don’t know what vitiligo is. Overall the numbers are growing, more are accommodating and taking time to learn about vitiligo and that is indeed comforting and assuring that we are headed in the right direction.

Kindly share with us one laughable myth you have heard about Vitiligo?

So people think vitiligo is contagious, they think if you are to come in contact with someone who has it you automatically get it (lolest).

What is your favourite holiday and why?

Africa day as it is my birthday    

What is your idea of a perfect first date outfit?

I’ve never been on a proper date before but I think a short little dress and heels.

Any new projects in the pipeline?

Yes ma’am, might pursue acting, it’s something I’m taking a keen interest in.

Acting wow, interesting, what is your favourite movie genre?

I love Crime investigation movies.

Would you want to play the part of an Iron Lady that everyone fears or the sweet girl next door?

It has to be a role similar to Annalise Keating’s in “How to get away with murder”……She was a bold, fearless, risk taker and at the same time the most caring woman there was.

When did you first realise you were making a difference and how did you feel in that moment?

8 February 2020. When I had my first shoot, the comments were overwhelming and the DMs….gosh! People were asking questions. Some were asking for help and most wondered how I was that confident to put myself out there. It was a beautiful moment for me because I celebrated my courage and realised that it had inspired somebody else to be comfortable in their skin which was “unbelievable!”

Finally, what message do you have for young girls and boys out there being bullied?

All I can say is we can’t fight everyone out there who has a foul mouth or bullies us. However, we can stand against them and not let them bring us down. Bullies are intimidated easily when they see that you’re not having anything they are dishing out. Again, the route of ignoring them is ideal if one isn’t confrontational. Silence intimidates a bully.


Doing this interview left me inspired and I hope it inspires you too. It had me somewhat nostalgic and thinking about one of my first articles with Girl Grandeur, “No Scars To your Beautiful”. I believe the message still stands true, relevant and I will repeat it…..One does not have to succumb to the worldly standards of what beauty is and isn’t. Each of us are beautiful in our own unique way, thus, we do not have to a change a thing, the world will eventually change its heart. “No scars to your beautiful, we are stars and we are beautiful!

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It’s not a long time ago I made use of the pseudo name ‘The Lorax’ as I wrote articles on the environment. Why The Lorax one would wonder. Why did I opt for that orange and slightly annoying mystical creature? Well……. for starters I did think he was rather cute with his orange fur and I do enjoy a good animation.  Most of all though, I loved his message,

“Unless somebody cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not,” Dr Seuss

Scared The Lorax GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Lorax was that one creature that cared a whole awful lot about trees and the environment thus the famous intro, “I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees”. I just could not help being somewhat nostalgic, hence, I get to be The Lorax again and I concur that,

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself,” Thomas Fuller

Let us take note of that statement which encourages us to be selfless and soak it in. For over the years, I sense as a people we are no longer in touch with the role we ought to play in preserving the environment and what it means in its entirety. We are reminded often than not of the significance of conserving it but do we truly understand and grasp all the concepts being thrown at us? Or the whole notion has been sensationalised to a point it’s deafening.

Why conserve the environment plus will we reap the benefits of doing so in this generation? Such questions naturally pop up in one’s mind. As thus, let’s briefly explore sustainable development. It entails us preserving the current resources so that our children and children’s children can benefit from them the same way we did if not better. Through it we are automatically included in a crusade to give the future generation a better prospect where they will not long or wish for resources we enjoy today.

As a resident in the town of Bulawayo which is currently faced with water shortages. I cannot help but feel our town fathers let us down. The Matebeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) which was first conceptualised in 1912, was aimed solely to ensure that we would not experience the current water shortages. Hands down it was an incredible idea. Tragically, it never came to fruition. What was the cause for its failure? Many are quick to call out corruption and squandering of funds as the main factor. Some say it is because the project was overambitious and costly. While these are indeed the realities of the tragic story of the MZWP. The root cause for the failure of the project is in my opinion that individuals tasked with the responsibility to see it through, did not fully appreciate the need for sustainable development. They did not understand the role they had to play as our fore fathers in safeguarding natural resources. But sadly,

“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations,” John Paul II.

So what can we then do from this moment on to right this wrong and guarantee our offspring have a future with enough resources? For as the unfortunate group we understand and relate to that the ultimate test of a man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

The solution is in the seed of environmental stewardship. I say let us plant it and let it grow! We cannot have our future generations missing out on the beauty that comes with nature. They need to have a getaway experience to the silent wilderness, wild woods, and rocky areas and give the soul a chance to be at peace. They will need free access to clean air and safe water. This seed of environmental stewardship will make this a reality, therefore I say,


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How would I ideally describe myself, in an interview or first date? I need a description that will represent who I am in a nutshell. One that would paint a picture and leave no questions to be asked. Mmmmmmh….”Young, gifted and black.”

Yes that is it!

For I can say this proudly, without a shadow of doubt nor fear. These three words describe just who I am! Young, Gifted and Black! However, I just cannot help but go back to that gloomy yet sunshiny day in 1969, as I picture it in my head of course lol! That time in the studio when Nina Simmons thought to pen the lines, “To be young gifted and black, oh what a lovely precious dream”.

A dream, for in that world she had grown up in, being black was nothing to be proud of, being “gifted and black” did not go hand in hand in a sentence. God forbid it, it was something unheard of! Popular belief was people of color could never be better or more intelligent, sum it up “gifted” than their fair skin counterparts.

Now decades later that is to a point a thing of the past. We now have a lot of young gifted and black individuals who are thriving. Unfortunately, we still do struggle with racism till date hence the rise in Black Lives Matter movements. Black Lives indeed matter that is a no brainer! Fundamentally, don’t they need to matter “first” to us as Black Africans though?  Should this not be the case before the rest of the world can get onboard and appreciate the true essence of the Black African society?

Xenophobia for example, took the world by storm, no one saw such an injustice coming. How can fellow black man fight, kill and torture one another? How can we as a society of African Black people kill each other solely because we do not share a language or culture? Ludicrous!  Are we saying black lives matter only when we feel a white person has treated us unfairly? Are we just in a habit of pulling the racist card at the white man but fail to question our fellow brother or sister’s actions when they torture and kill another fellow African man?

“You can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.’ Malcom X

Malcom X directed this to each and every race in the world including blacks, when we kill, torture, rob, rape, falsely accuse and exploit our fellow African men, we go against our heritage and who we are. Certainly, we cannot do this without actually hating the man we see in the mirror.

It is against this background I wonder if being young, gifted and black will continue to be something admirable in future.

For I question what legacy we are leaving behind for our offspring? Will they be proud to be young gifted and black or they will struggle with a seed we as their forefathers and mothers have planted? One where we have double standards and are hypocrites when dealing with a black and white man. One where we as a society (African) cannot love, help and seize exploiting one another.

Being, young, gifted and black has seized being merely just a dream when we consider how far we have come as black African people. Let us not then make the struggle for freedom which was fought for us by our heroes be one which was done in vain.

To be young, gifted and black, let us live it, breathe it and set an example of how it ought to feel and be, by being kinder, loving and more caring to our own. Once we achieve this, the rest of the world will follow suit.

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” I’m every woman it’s all in me. Anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally.”

These lyrics by Chaka Khan ring true to every woman and self-proclaimed feminist out there. Through them, women have felt empowered and thrived to be the best they can be. In fact, we have witnessed over the years, breakthroughs taking place for females. All confirming that there are indeed strides being taken towards the emancipation of women. However, I feel along the way, the true meaning of the song got blurred and lost thereby causing women to exert unnecessary pressure on themselves.


Through this song, women have felt the need to live up to unattainable standards. Stay at home moms for example have felt inadequate due to the notion that being a career woman whose juggling family and business projects while looking like a supermodel are all attributes of an ideal woman. So ideal, she can do all this “naturally”. However, is there such a thing?  What is an ideal woman? What group or groups of women deserve being celebrated? Do we need to be every woman to impress men, the world and most of all ourselves? Can we not be worth celebrating as women with all our flaws and incapabilities?


Evidently, we need to see a shift in the world and it can only come about if we as women change our mind-set. We constantly fight for equality but somehow have become the ones driving the numbers of young ladies with low self-esteem through the roof. In a bid to see women being viewed as equals we have sold a dream that is unattainable. One that proves to be a cause for a migraine for whomever tries to make it a reality. This needs to stop!! With May being the month we celebrate Mothers, I believe it is also the time to reflect and picture the kind of world we want for females.

Cue in the role of mothers.

Mothers need to be the driving force towards educating their daughters that whilst the world is their oyster, they will be celebrated regardless of their career choices, fashion choices, body type, skin type, relationship choices and religion choice. Daughters need to be taught that they need not to conform or settle. They need to be educated that they do not have to trash something in order to validate an opinion. One does not need to trash weaves to promote natural African hair, nor trash talk curvy women to promote the slender ones, find fault in Christianity in order to promote being a Muslim or trash talk the boy child in order to promote the girl child. That blowing out another’s candle will not make your candle burn brighter. They need to understand that each and everyone is special in their own unique way.

We need women who are strong so they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.” – Kavita Ramdas

Kudos to all our mothers and future mothers for the great job they are doing and are yet to do. Let us however, take it a step further by helping mould a future that we desire for the next generation. One where we will see a decrease in self-esteem issues, a future where the girl child can set out to be whatever and whomever she sees fit without going an extra mile to fit in.

We can achieve this as mothers by laying a foundation for a bigger, better and brighter future for our children. This foundation entails being a strong woman as a mother, believing and living the culture we seek to instil in our daughters. If we get this right, in that future, mothers will be celebrated, remembered and cherished with the chant “I’m every woman it’s all in me. Anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally.

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“But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark

You should know you are beautiful just the way you are.

And you don’t have to change a thing

The world can change its heart

No scars to your beautiful, we are stars and we are beautiful”

  1. Too many time as beings, we feel the need to live up to expectations that aren’t even our own. The life of a prisoner on death row characterises our very existence; getting up reluctantly every morning. Trapped in a cell numbered ‘LIFE’.

Dull concrete wall on all three sides the fourth being steel bars, a dull ceiling, cold concrete floors and then you have the little grimy window. So puny this casement, recollection of when you last counted or saw the stars proves impossible. Counting days to your execution is what you are accustomed to.

“I did not do it” or “It’s not my fault I am here, the world is to blame” or “I have a disability and I wasn’t able” are phrases you utter like an incantation in the hope they will stick and give a desired effect, yet no, it is not magic. Reality is you refuse to own your mistakes.

There is no denying that the world can indeed be a cold place. Where one often finds themselves surrounded by people who terminate the fire and soul they once had to a point the recognition of “self” in the mirror seizes.

The new born full of life you once were is robbed of its eccentricities and authenticities over a period, ultimately alienating you from the being you instinctually was born to be. Realisatnion of this fact gives birth to loathing of life in its entirety. As though one has been in slumber, the food, career path, relationships, hobbies the works are suddenly not fulfilling. There is a void.

Evidently, along the way; somehow, somewhere, you allowed the world to dictate what is Hot and Not, what body type, skin color, hair texture, career route, financial status is “right”. You let the world classify you based on your disability and not capability. In the quest to fit in, you attempted to change who you are and now you find yourself on death row for this crime.

Life is BLEAK! Bleak with an execution date. However, lying in your cell a few minutes before you are put to death, those last critical moments of solitude, you mutter, “Believe life eventually asks kindly”, with glowing eyes, excitement and a new found passion you repeat;






The word B.L.E.A.K suddenly has a new meaning. You were expecting and execution but have been granted a resurrection! Life asks; “Who are you? What are your dreams, strengths and goals? “Are you sure your disability hinders you going after your dreams?  Why not get up, out of this imaginary cell and start living?

  1. “You change your life by changing your heart”, not losing essence of self. Every fibre of our being must remain intact. The world has to adjust to accommodate one and not the other way around.

Yes, that aha moment when you realise that hope does indeed seek and find you even in the darkest moment. However, do we always need to wind up in a cell, tortured mentally and emotionally to realise we are not living up to our fullest potential though?

Let us master the art of being unapologetic in our quest to live a wholesome life. When achieved we will find ourselves in a place that proves ultimately good for us always. We are born as birds of paradise, beautiful, colorful with a thirst and hunger for adventure, we should never allow those who have chosen to be grey like pigeons ground us.

Suffice it to say;

  1. “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something not even me. Alright? Your dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something go get it. Period.”

………………….And you don’t have to change a thing the world can change its heart. Disabled, dark, short, tall, light, slim the list goes on, never change who you are to accommodate the world for there are ……..“ No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we are beautiful!”

  1. Alessia Cara, Scars to your beautiful
  2. Max Lucado, Christian Author
  3. Chris Gardner, from The Pursuit of happiness
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Torn, will worn, hope gone and faith forsakes you. Seated in a dark corner crying your eyes out, feeling trapped and cursed, this is not the first time. Abused, betrayed and butchered to a point of no redemption. Scarred, frightened by every little thing, you cannot find peace. Heart breaks as you observe this old self through a time capsule that shows events of life’s past. Through this somewhat magical historical window you watch the “precious one”. Advancing closer to this budding hurt version of yourself, heart beating as you know this is against the rules of the capsule, you whisper to them;

“Precious one, a life so loved

That left footprints in my heart

Now a treasure to my soul

Oh precious one,

Your life had just begun

So live forever more

May your memory flow with the waters

And so long my love

Although I hadn’t had enough

Enjoy your life beyond

As long as you are now happier

I’ll let go”

 You can walk away and choose to remember no more. Oh how you have grown! It is easier to whisper such now as with age came wisdom. Understanding that you carve your own sculptor and you have one thing in mind;

“Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do and be”

Living in the past is something we do all too well as beings. We never want to let go. Let go of the pain, hurt, betrayal and anything and everything that made us feel inadequate. Being told we were failures growing up at times leads to one becoming just that instead of noting the power they have to alter the script.Of course we cannot alter how the precious one was made to feel, inadequate, a loser, and the works! However, we can change how we want to feel for the rest of our lives. It is important to note life is what we make it. I learnt this when;

“I bargained with Life for a penny

And Life would pay no more

However, I begged at evening

When I counted my scanty score

For Life is a just employer,

He gives you what you ask

But once you have set the wages

Why must you bear the task

I worked for a menial’s hire

Only to learn dismayed

That any wage I had asked of Life

Life would have willingly paid” 

Beyond a shadow of doubt, we are the authors of our book called Life. We determine the words and sentences that go on every page. Certainly obstacles will be faced leading to a writer’s block or pages and chapters we would never want to revisit. Regardless, the book needs to be written to the very last page. Being an author entails none can ever take your place thus you need to see the book through bearing in mind none can take away what you desire to go on each page.

Oh precious one enjoy your life beyond as long as you are now happier I’LL LET GO.

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