Testimonial from Thuletho Zwane in Johannesburg

I suffer extreme eczema.

I’ve been in and out of dermatologist offices since I was a baby. I was born with this thing. Because I was rather spoilt, it took me three years to realise this… My father used to get me my monthly treatments from the dermatologist and the chemist, but when my father passed, it became impossible for me to do this myself. Three months after he passed I was out of my skin products. 

I went to the chemist. The first thing she asked me was, “Where is George, I haven’t seen him in a long time? I think three months,” she said. We had been going to the same chemist since I was 7.

“He passed,” I said. It was a car accident,” I added.

“May I use your bathroom?”

I was clearly broken; voice shaking; tears in my eyes.

She started to cry.

I stood there. Broken. Unable to face these people. These people who have known me since I was a child. Not me but me, George’s child with the skin disease me.

You see, George, my father, we didn’t call him that. Mfanelo at the most, PaFire, PaFa, Papa, Bahbaaa, but never George. But this was his name. His signature in the world. I would spend days as a child learning his signature, George, to copy it on my tests, exams, letters from parents… Not because I was doing something wrong but I’d simply forgotten to ask him or mom to sign. I always had fantastic scores so there was never a need to lie to the parents. I was also a rather fantastic child. I’d later tell them I forged their signature because I forgot a certain important item and I had to show or get their approval. “Ee, I signed it. Why would I need approval for my own life?” I’d say even from childhood.

I cried in the bathroom. The bathroom at the chemist.

I remember the first time I walked into this chemist. I was 3 or 4, with both parents. Old man Sussman was the chemist at the time. At one of our many visits, he told my father, so proud, that his daughter also studied pharmacy and would take over his little chemist.

I was first weighed there. I would be given lollipops.

I’d even be given sodas if I was found looking in that direction. My father would be told not to pay.

So there I was, 31 years old, sobbing.

I came out to a pink Anne-Marie with tears in her eyes.

She seemed to know my story… How my mother passed away in 2003. How my father had a daughter at Rhodes.

These stories would become lighter. How I would travel the continent. How my father was proud of me. How he was so very angry when I quit my job as an economist at the treasury. How they read my byline in the paper.

“Is the cream ready?” I asked her struggling to breathe.

“In an hour,” she said.

“Alright, I’ll come back.”

I didn’t go back.

That was in 2015.

I started conversations with my skin around that time…

“Well, you know, something has got to give. You need to start getting better. We aren’t doing this again,” I said.

We’ve been getting better.

I’ve used the coconut oils, olive oils, the shea butters and they have been great. Great until I have a breakout. Then I have to run to chemists that sell steroids without prescriptions.

Until now. A bit too quick to go mad about this but I’ve been using this product over a month now and I’m fine. Very fine. Even the lingering eczema on my ankles has gone. Gone.

I don’t know what’s in the product even though Mosa Skosana has told me a number of times. She first gave me a sample. I didn’t use it. I’m me. I’m reluctant to use skin products I don’t know. Then one day, having taken a great liking to her, I thought, why not?

She went on:

“You can use the cream from head to toe.”

I gave her the eye.

But my hair was dry and I thought yeah, why not. I have gorgeous hair.

It’s healthy. It glows and I used this cream whose name I don’t know from head to toe.

Thuletho Zwane, Johannesburg

The product Thuletho used was Koosh Kream