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My Vitiligo Story | From Gqibelo Jiyane’s Diary

Gqibelo Jiyane, a 29 years old teacher from South Africa shares her vitiligo story.

Gqibelo Jiyane

I noticed my first vitiligo patch between the age of 5 or 6. I wouldn’t say it was that difficult, however, as a child, I would be asked questions and received so many stares. I grew up as a child who had a strong personality and because of that, I got into fights. Kids in my neighborhood would throw words at me. They would say that I am ‘black & white’ and ‘a zebra’. Perhaps that was their way of getting to me, but it wasn’t something I could not handle. I grew up in the church with people who were welcoming and caring so I was protected that way.

When I turned 27, the white patches started spreading and enlarged around my head, eyes, mouth, arms, hands, and legs. Now, the patches were more visible. So, naturally, I was subjected to more questions, more insulting comments, and more stares.

Living with this condition was not easy, but it is manageable today. For me, this was a different journey. As a teen, I always told myself that when I will start working, I will visit the dermatologists to get my spots removed. When they started spreading, I visited dermatologists and spent a lot of money before getting absolutely tired. I started accepting myself little by little then I got used to it, however, I am still on my journey to self-love.

I was blessed to be surrounded by people who have accepted and loved me the way I am. I remove myself from people who make me feel uncomfortable. When I encounter strange stares, I change my thoughts into thinking “if they stare at me, they must be admiring my beauty because I stand out”. I draw my strength from the book of life – the Bible. I get to understand that I am wonderfully and beautifully made; I am set apart and I am the image of God regardless.

I feel vitiligo is my journey, my ministry, and my purpose. I do not regret having it anymore. I am happy and I am becoming the best version of myself. Perhaps, that’s why I don’t want any creams or treatment to cure it. This is part of me and I regard myself as perfect in my imperfections. Someone actually mentioned that why cure a dope skin? I am at peace with me having two colors.

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