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No, skin bleaching did not cause South African musician Mshoza’s death

“Mshoza is dead, it’s because of skin bleaching,” reads a message posted on Facebook in South Africa in November 2020.

Kwaito musician Nomasonto Maswanganyi, known as Mshoza, died on 19 November at the age of 37. Messages of condolence swarmed social media with the hashtag #Mshoza, some questioning the cause of the star’s death.

Mshoza was open about her use of skin lighteners, telling City Press in 2016: “My skin was pigmenting. Lightening my skin was the only choice I had.”

She added: “It has nothing to do with self-hate. I do not regret the decision – I love myself. Even though I have always been beautiful, I think I am prettier now.”

But was the musician’s death caused by “skin bleaching”?


Diagnosed with diabetes in 2014

“Skin lightening, or skin bleaching, is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lighten dark areas of skin or achieve a generally paler skin tone,” says the British National Health Service.

The techniques used are skin-lightening creams and laser treatment. The NHS lists several side-effects of skin lightening procedures, but death is not one of them.

Mshoza’s manager Thanduxolo Jindela told media outlets that she died of complications from diabetes. She was reportedly first diagnosed with the condition in 2014.

“She had been living with diabetes for a long time and she was treating it,” Jindela told Sowetan Live. “We were obviously keeping it out of the media that she was hospitalised yesterday [18 November]. Remember, there is Mshoza that everyone loves and knows. Then there is Nomasonto and she didn’t like such things to be known.”

There is no evidence that Mshoza’s death was “because of skin bleaching”.

While many mourn the singer, others have used social media to attack the late musician’s light skin, with one tweeting: “Mshoza the white lady.” There is massive sadness over her passing, as evidenced by the many people who have sent prayers and well wishes to her two young children. 


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