Chubby Vogue Diva #33

Earlier this year my cousin gave me a print material. We call them African prints these days I do not think anyone even cares to research where some of these prints come from including me. The past two months I have been looking for cool designs of dresses, pants and jackets looking for something that I would like. While searching I bumped into an out fit which was three piece a shirt and pants that goes with a hat all made of the same material and this picture took me back. This picture reminded me of this lady called Margaret from Uganda, she use to sell table cloths and couch covers to my mother while growing up in Eastern Cape in a small town called Butterworth. By the way my name is Chwayita and my surname is Kaule. Margaret would also bring the three-piece made from the material from Uganda and my mother without fail bought it for me. I was not the only one who wore that three piece by the way but when I wore it things were different because I am dark skinned so automatically people assumed that I too was from Uganda. That assumption was the beginning of my journey of hate for my skin tone and myself. I know that is not something that should bring one down but colorism is a huge problem in the black community. The thing is we can buy from the ladies from Uganda or any other neighboring country but looking like them now that is a problem.

By the time I was 8 years old I knew that I was different and I am treated differently because of my skin tone. It didn’t help that I was always teased for it, called names and that being dark meant I was ugly and I fall in the low level. I kept on growing with my self hate by the time I was 14 years old I was walking around praying and hoping that someone out there would love this skin tone so that I can also love it. Be careful for what you wish for, Indeed I met boy that liked me and another one followed and then next one followed and all seemed okay that now I too was accepted for the first time in my life. I remember my aunt visiting me and telling me that white men liked dark skinned women so I most likely to marry one in one condition though that I do not gain weight. So in all those relationships I made sure that I do not gain weight at least now the black guys have noticed me and if I stayed small the white men would come and eventually save me from my misery of being dark. It would be even better for my kids not to be black and dark skinned so that they never have to go through what I went through.

When I turned 16 years old everything took for a turn when I gained a lot of weight. Now I am not only dark but also now fat, I felt like God failed me with giving me a dark skin but now he also failed me by giving me a body that would gain weight just when the black guys were starting to like me. As for me marrying a white man that was now off the table for me.

Today is the 27 March 2017 its four days before my 28th birthday. Two days ago I had a photo-shoot with Chubby vogue and I met myself for the first time after 11 years of searching and waiting for someone to love me so that I can also love me. When a good friend of mine asked me to do this photo-shoot I first felt weird about it because I would have to deal with my body and skin tone. I would have to deal with the body that failed me years ago. The body that did not allow the white man to come save me and the black man to love me. Loving and accepting comes with conditions for me, I will only love myself when I loose this weight or when that changes or when someone else accepts me. So on the 25th March I did the photo-shoot with uncertainty of what will be the outcome or what will happen. Something strange happened that day a new journey with myself started, a journey of unlearning the lies about myself and accepting the truth about myself.

During the photo shoot I met a beautiful dark skinned woman who is also plus size. I do not know about tomorrow or the day after what I know is that today this who I am. I am still getting use to the change, I am aware of the work that still needs to be done in learning and unlearning things about myself. I am forever grateful of the opportunity of sharing my story through word and photography because in my story I find meaning and matter.

My advice is learn to be You, Love You, in all Your Ways, Always.

 

Chubby Vogue Diva #30

Lebitso laka ke Matšhweng Seko mmago Selaelo le Mahlako (Sel-Mah)

The journey of comfort with my body has been a long and interesting one for me. I have always been classified as “chubby” since I was young. Even after losing 30KG and moved from a 42 to a 32, I still viewed myself as bigger than the average girl and found fault in my physique.

After being blessed with two beautiful souls and two major losses in my life, I came to realize that life is too short to be focused on things that do not make you happy and being negative. I came to the conclusion that, it is no-one’s responsibility to love this “shebang” of a woman or anyone’s responsibility to be comfortable or happy with this body, but ME… You only get one body after all and you need to take care of it. So I choose love and happiness not only for me and for my two girls.

Children do not do what you say but do what you do. For my girls or madonga a JAM (as I love calling them) to love themselves, be confident and proud I had to be that example for them.

Although I have been a gym member for years, and always participated in races and tried to be active it was after my light bulb moment that my heart followed me to the gym and all my fitness activities and renewed my love for it. Being at the gym and running has been my Nirvana: where I am at peace and EXTREMELY happy.

Finally accepting myself as I am and fully loving Matšhweng: has made me more adventurous and made me happier, content with myself, my life and enabled me to be the person I am truly meant to be. Every day for me is a new adventure and I strive to be the best person I could be and to live my purpose in life and the best Mother I could be to Sel-Mah (Madonga a JAM)

 

Chubby Vogue Divas Durban Behind the Scenes

On the 13 of February I went to Durban to Start photographing Chubby Vogue Divas Durban, Returned on the 3rd of March.

IMG_0025Zama Shange who volunteered her precious time to be my Assistant.

She put together a schedule for me to work in Durban, organising transport and the making sure the ladies had each signed a consent form at each shoot and follow up on the Articles that the Divas had to write bout themselves.

Thank you so Much for giving me all your time and your willingness to make Chubby Vogue Divas a successful project.

IMG_0033 Nombulelo Ngqayizivele Khumalo

Thank you for being a True Diva and being part of my project, from driving me around to Hammersdale,Kwamashu and Umlazi I really appreciate the time you took to assist me in my quest. i will not forget the fun times we had, the people you introduced me too and all the madness we had together. Ngiyabonga!

To all my Divas from Durban, Richards Bay, Eskhawini, Kwamashu, Emlazi, Reservoir Hills, Hammersdale, Sea View, and Umbilo. Thank you for allowing to come to your homes and raid your wardrobes, meeting all your families, Ngiyabonga kakhulu.

1618009_1052468254769661_2081026953338218461_o    1801400_1054595817890238_341813834666026380_o

IMG_9712   1511331_1052465881436565_1009387165073064475_n   10849978_1052524108097409_1790225603682350889_n

1979274_1052468421436311_409192555919114521_o  10285553_1052523314764155_2141307043569610481_o

10497042_1052463881436765_8489963577497001273_o  10530916_1052524078097412_3978944659081250177_n  10978660_1052524014764085_6632013374072276218_n

10313876_1053050341378119_8382586105098342386_o  10866278_1054596314556855_7674632900545917400_o

10370957_1052465818103238_5892538680261222652_n   10599700_1052468564769630_6377604046051933626_n  1973703_1052463958103424_9026050919534372847_o10861106_1054595654556921_6636000167316613599_o  10960170_1053050291378124_3084390014685746414_o 10960466_1055689247780895_6710773981955798053_o 10974356_1054595771223576_7263779406652312814_o 10974543_1052464951436658_5353650287933191251_o  10982459_1052523671430786_6771824746320689449_n 10983407_1052468508102969_4912261568761310265_n 10986492_1052523594764127_1193895106672833499_n  11008482_1052523708097449_3280429467323643610_n

10995906_1055689441114209_8767921585634082966_o    10991521_1052463818103438_3656036534151705609_o

IMG_980410996040_1052463544770132_2823164497336888569_o 10996366_1052468538102966_5039211848878886062_n

IMG_9697   IMG_9726 IMG_9769

Durban was Amazing

I am definitely coming Back soon.

For all those that I did not manage to photograph ngiyabuya bathandwa.

Chubby Vogue Diva #7

IMG_1186

Sweetness ‘Zama’ Nonhlanhla Buthelezi is my name. I Am a fabulous 32 year old! I am Born and bred in Dobsonville Soweto but currently reside in Florida North. My weight does not define who I am. I am a lover of life and all things nice, I embrace life, my weight is just that weight ☺. No, I have not always been big, I only started putting on weight when I was pregnant with my son. Post pregnancy, I worked hard to lose weight,  and I did. I then tried to keep my weight between 34 to 36 and then I had my daughter and I should I say the struggle continues☺. The fact of the matter is I have accepted that MY body has changed but that does not mean I have to be sloppy!

I take my health quite serious, I try eat balanced meals and exercise when I get time. Last year I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and it really awakened me to live a conscious life, you only have one body take care of it. I have made a commitment to take care of myself mind, body and spirit. I now realise that that Health is Wealth and I Treasure every moment! I love my body shape and I know that feeling good= looking good!

No  I have never been teased about my weight, but I find that some people can be rude especially people I have not seen in years. The silly weight comments always get to me. I may be a little chubby now but that does not give you the right to comment about my body size. I have no idea why I agreed to do the photoshoot! Got to the studio and got too excited! The set up was great, I loved all the different backgrounds!

I struggled with being in front of the camera, I became so self-conscious that it became intimidating! After a couple of wardrobe changes I started relaxing and enjoying myself. All in all I enjoyed the experience! The photographer is a Chubby Vogue Diva herself so she makes you feel at ease.

My advice to other Divas like me is: Looking good is not about a dress size. It’s about taking care of yourself, taking care of your body and mind. It’s also important to dress in a way that flatters your shape! Having said that am not saying chubby girls should be oversized clothes but wear what feels comfortable. Don’t follow fashion trends dress for your body type!

IMG_0697 IMG_0706 IMG_0708 IMG_0737 IMG_0738 IMG_0739 IMG_0842  IMG_0857 IMG_0848 IMG_1087    IMG_1235    IMG_1120 IMG_1090 IMG_1108 IMG_1111 IMG_1160    IMG_1119   IMG_1203 IMG_1164  IMG_1227  IMG_1167    

My PERFECT imperfects..

My Name is Smangele Hegeni a Beautiful Xhosa Women if I say so myself
IMG_9538

But almost everyone calls me Spunky, I just turned 23 this year.

I have a very Bubbly personality.

IMG_9377

I am a size 32 waist and a 42 DD comfortable and confident with my Big melons, sometimes people stair when I walk in a room. I love them to bits and would not change them for anything in the world, I kind of  like the attention they bring.

It was not always easy though, when i was thirteen I wore hand me downs that didn’t give the appropriate support, so that was really uncomfortable.

I got to understand them and knew how to dress them, as young girls it take a while for you to understand bra size, what is sexy and what is comfortable.

Right now I am confident and enjoy them, I have grown to accept and love them as they part of my being, a part of who I am.

To all the young girls with Big Melons like me, Love Them.

I agreed to do the shoot with Charmain Carrol so that kids don’t go through what I did when I was younger, and that they appreciate their bodies and assets as they are a GIFT from God.

so the shoot went like this………

IMG_9478

IMG_9387

IMG_9407

IMG_9448

  IMG_9564  IMG_9594

IMG_9407

Thank You Charmza for capturing these beautiful moments.