Original Research

Appreciating the image of God in all humanity: Towards a pastoral response to skin lightening as image enhancement to exit dark skin

Noah K. Tenai
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 50, No 1 | a1989 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v50i1.1989 | © 2016 Noah K. Tenai | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2015 | Published: 09 May 2016

About the author(s)

Noah K. Tenai, School of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


The practice of skin lightening is prevalent amongst dark-skinned people globally. Various current studies that map this practice and that seek motivations behind the practice are examined. It is observed that through shrewd marketing, dark-skinned people are offered a promise of a better quality of life, obtained by a lighter skin, through the use of skin lighteners. In spite of the severe health risks involved, the promise is ostensibly irresistible to some dark-skinned persons. A pastoral response is offered that affirms the full personhood and complete humanity of dark-skinned people as fully human and whole in their dark skins.

Keywords: Skin lightening, Dark skin, Image of God


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