“My sister is asleep.
She is chocolate.
I am toffee.”
These are the thoughts of one of two Kenyan teenage sisters who are having their hair braided at the hair saloon, that lead into the short film Yellow Fever – a mixed-media animation by Kenyan filmmaker Ng’endo Mukii.
The short film explores the colonizing influences of Western, caucasian beauty ideals on young African women as these are disseminated through mainstream media and advertising.
“Any white complexion”, as the film notes, seems to be “beauty. And that is now what drove the girls to try and use ‘beauty creams to bleach themselves.” So did the women that braids the hair of the other teenage sister in the short film. She is what is commonly known as Mkorogo in Kenya – someone that uses skin bleaching products, but had just enough money to apply it on the hands and face, which are most often visible, but now yellow.
This is what Ng’endo Mukii says motivated her exploration:
“Kenyan Animated Short Film ‘Yellow Fever’ Expores Colorist & Self-Image Among African Girls And Women” (Article on okayafrica.com).