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Actress Cindy 'Mama Stella' speaks on her struggle with vitiligo

 Cindy 'Mama Stella: A doctor once asked me to pay Sh200,000 for an injection that would bleach my skin uniformly and do away with the patches. [Winfrey Owino, Standard]

Former nominated Member of Nyeri County Assembly, Wangui Njee, has called on medical experts to disclose full information to Vitiligo patients when they seek medical attention.

Wangui has been a vitiligo ambassador for almost a decade, supporting people living with vitiligo by donating sunscreens and lip balms, which protects their skin from the sun rays.

She was diagnosed with vitiligo as a teenager back when she was at Pangani Girls’ High School in 2005.

The former nominated Ward Representative disclosed that some doctors were fond of giving patients living with the condition false hopes of healing.

She explained that vitiligo is a condition that has no cure, but can only be managed and controlled through medication.

“Vitiligo is an auto-immune condition that can only be managed by medicine and not cured.  The medication suppresses it, but in most cases, I have seen, it comes back worse,” she told The Standard.

She added “After my parents had tried everything without success, I stopped medication at 21. This is when it blew up, I became completely white months after I quit medication,”

According to her, there are three types of vitiligo; segmental (affects one part of the body), full-body and patches.

She however says, that most patients stay behind closed doors for fear of discrimination and insensitive questions from the public.

As a result of the discrimination, some of these patients drown in depression and even alcohol and drug abuse just to cope.

Clara Wamaitha Ng’ethe, ex Machachari actress popularly known as Cindy 'Mama Stella', recently opened up to The Standard on her depression journey when she noticed a change in her skin.

“For me, I thought this was the end? Will they accept me as an actress again? What does this mean for my career? These are some of the questions I would ask myself,” she said fighting back tears.

“I started becoming an alcoholic, but my husband and children’s support is what brought me back to my feet,” she went on.

She told The Standard how at first she would cover the small patches with makeup.

“Before our show ended, the first patches started showing. I would cover them with makeup just to feel comfortable until it got to a point it could not be hidden,” she added.

The popular actress also told The Standard, “A doctor once asked me to pay Sh200,000 for an injection that would bleach my skin uniformly and do away with the patches.”

Although it took her time to accept her new skin colour, Cindy, as she is popularly known, has now embraced her condition and has joined others in creating public awareness of the disease.

“It takes courage to live with this skin condition. People stare at you when you walk on the road. Others ask if I was burnt. You need to develop a thick skin,” Clara concluded.

Vitiligo is a long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin.

It is caused by a lack of melanin, which is a natural skin pigment. World Vitiligo Day is celebrated annually on June 25.

The auto-immune condition can affect any area of skin, although it commonly happens on the face, neck, hands, and in skin creases. 

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