Entertainment

Lelethi Khumalo is comfortable in her own skin.

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Lelethi Khumalo is comfortable in her own skin.

Leleti Khumalo one of the most familiar faces on Mzansi’s celebrity landscape, gracing magazine covers and appearing in hit films. But even fans who’ve followed her stellar career for years will see her now as never before. This time there’s no warpaint covering her gorgeous skin.

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The actress who rose to prominence as a young girl in Sarafina! She has proudly shown her skin problem to everyone.She settles into a chair and gets straight to the point: after years of hiding her skin under layers of make-up to mask her vitiligo, she’s on a mission to educate people about the condition in which the skin loses its pigment.

“I used to cover my white patches with make-up but for when I joins Imbewu I did not be cover it. People get to see me without the make-up. I had a long discussion with the creators of Imbewu and they actually allowed me to do it. My plan is to educate people about vitiligo but I also don’t want to do a half job. I’ll be doing educational talks on vitiligo and I’d obviously want the talks to have an impact,” she says

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Leleti Khumalo, who has been open and honest about her condition, started experiencing vitiligo when she was 19 years old. However, when she was a young lady growing up in the KwaMashu slum in KwaZulu-Natal city, she had no clue what the condition was.

“It was pure ignorance on my part,” she confesses. “In fact, I didn’t even know what it was until I became pregnant,” she revealed

She takes a big breath before continuing. “It’s deeper than people realize because it affects every aspect of your life – and while it’s not painful, it’s incurable.My doctor warned me that it would be worse after giving birth, but it didn’t bother me at the time because I was too excited about the babies,” says the mother of four-year-old twins Yamukelani and Ulwenzile”

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Her delight, however, quickly changed to sadness, and then depression. Leleti was expecting triplets, not twins, when she fell pregnant in 2012, but she sadly lost one baby at birth. “Losing my baby was one of the hardest moments of my life,” she admits. “I was left with too many unanswered questions; I cried, prayed, and blamed myself.” It was a double tragedy for me because I also had to deal with my skin issue.

Her broken heart would not have mended if her husband, Skhuthazo Khanyile, had not been there to comfort her. “We dealt with the loss of the baby, and he assured me that despite my skin condition, he still loved me.” “These babies are the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she exclaimed.

“In my previous marriage, I tried everything to have babies, but nothing worked.” Leleti was once married to Sarafina! creator Mbongeni Ngema. “I’m not sure where I’d be if I hadn’t met Mbongeni,” she adds of her ex-boyfriend. “Perhaps I’d be further along in my career or I wouldn’t have made it.” What I do know is that he provided me with an excellent platform.

Her broken heart would not have mended if her husband, Skhuthazo Khanyile, had not been there to comfort her. “We dealt with the loss of the baby, and he assured me that despite my skin condition, he still loved me.” “These babies are the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she exclaimed.

” A year after her 13-year-marriage to Mbongeni crumbled, Leleti met businessman Skhuthazo and “it was love at first sight.” She credits her beloved husband for helping her love herself, flaws and all. Her skin condition, which had got progressively worse during pregnancy, paled in comparison to the loss of her baby but it also troubled the popular actress.

 

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“My skin was changing every day and I went straight into depression. There were days I couldn’t cope and there were days I’d feel stronger. Suddenly, I was more conscious about my looks and I kept wondering how people would accept me,” she says.

She gradually learned to accept her condition. “The more I learned about vitiligo, the more at ease I felt in my own skin.” I’ve accepted that this is a part of who I am.

That’s why she chose to play MaZulu on Imbewu as organically as she could. She’s been blazing a trail as Sarafina! on stages from South Africa to New York for more than 30 years, garnering her a coveted Tony nomination and NAACP Image Award for best actress.With such a track record, Leleti is likely to revolutionise Mzansi’s showbiz landscape once more, and this time she’ll do it with a clean slate.

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Alaa Hamdy

Professional entertainment content writer in Hanover, South Africa. I know all the secrets of celebrities

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