'You are enough and you are beautiful’
Cape Town – In a world that wants to dictate to women how they should look, it becomes hard for them to embrace body positivity, but Zintle Limba says it is important not to let society make you feel inferior about your body as a woman.
Body positivity is a social movement rooted in the belief that all people should have a positive body image. It advocates accepting all types of bodies irrespective of ability, size or appearance.
Limba, 26, grew up in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. She is pursuing a qualification in education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is also a weight-loss mentor and hiking co-ordinator.
According to Limba, body positivity means being in love with the skin and body she has. She says it is about genuinely loving what she sees in the mirror and loving her body enough to take care of it by eating healthily and working out.
She admits her body image was flawed at first as she associated it with the size she wore or how much she weighed.
Limba says she realised body positivity is not about physique but about your mindset.
“Do I allow others to celebrate and feel free in their skin or do I create mental boundaries as to what they need to look like?
“Body positivity stems from loving yourself. It’s not what society tells you or what you tell others. Body positivity is love,” says Limba.
Society’s view of what beauty looks like is distorted and paints the narrative a woman needs to be a certain size in order to qualify as beautiful.
Oftentimes this even leads to body shaming, further depleting a woman's confidence.
Body shaming is the behaviour of passing judgemental and humiliating comments about another person’s body size, shape or weight.
Limba says she spent most of her teenage life and early 20s feeling fat and sometimes ugly.
“I accepted the name calling from others and I just wanted to shed all that weight to feel pretty and slimmer,” she says.
Her weight affected the relationship she had with herself and others, she told African News Agency.
“I don’t want any girl/woman feeling that way. You are enough and you are beautiful,” says Limba.
Meanwhile, on social media, a number of South African celebrities, such as Sophie Ndaba, Tumi Morake, Rolene Strauss, Nobathembu Mabeka, Lesego Legobane and many others, have experienced body shaming as well.
Legobane, who has been at the forefront of putting an end to body shaming, took part in Marie Claire SA’s “Naked” issue last year.
In an Instagram post, she said: #DearBody others may not understand why I walk around like you’re covered in diamonds. They look at you and just see flaws, they do not understand the unconditional love I have for you. I am so happy that I am no longer at war with you, my acceptance of you has brought me peace.
“I will forever be grateful to my parents who told me that I am wonderful and fearfully made that I should never be apologetic for being the person I am and I should embrace my uniqueness and never allow people's opinions to define me,” gospel singer Mabeka wrote on her Facebook page after receiving nasty comments on social media about her image.
“Love your body enough to take care of it and do not allow anyone to make you feel inferior,” says Limba.
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