Nobuhle Ndzakayi is a 20-year-old lady from Bloemfontein who is founder of the “Thick Ain’t Disgusting Movement”. She matriculated in 2018, from Vulamasango High School and then decided to take a gap year in 2019, which she describes as having been a very productive year
Asked how the movement came about, she explained that around November/December 2018 she had a vision in regard to creating a movement which celebrates women who are often regarded as unattractive by the society. She was haunted by the fact that, she hated herself for a very long time, she then decided to stand up for herself and other women who loved themselves less due to their body structure.
Growing up, Nobuhle was surrounded by people who regarded chubby people as less than attractive, and what had broken her spirit while growing up is now serving as motivation for her. “My struggle growing up motivated me to push this “Thick Ain’t Disgusting” movement. I was surrounded by people who thought my body was disgusting and thought I had short lifespan”. She explains that she was never confident, because she was different from other children and her friends would often mock her and tell her that she looks like a round bottle. It has become a norm for full figured women to be frowned upon by the society. “I had no shape in their eyes and it contributed to my low self-esteem, I was young and I would take whatever that was said to me into consideration” she added.
With a lot of people having a negative opinion about her body, it had become hard for her to love herself. Nobuhle had become very negative about her life in general, had a low self-esteem and had become obsessed with losing weight. Her obsession had become so intense that after every meal she would make herself throw up. She explained that instead of losing weight she lost herself instead. “I was not losing weight but myself, I was very suicidal because I was losing my soul” she added. During this phase, Nobuhle felt very lonely and was dying slowly inside. This also affected her physically as she became ill from always throwing up, she was very dehydrated. She had now started hating herself for not being able to lose weight and trying to please everyone else.
One day Nobuhle came to a realization that despite what everyone saw when they looked at her, her family saw a queen when they looked at her. “One day I realized that while everyone might have seen me as unworthy when they looked at me, my family saw a queen in me” she added. Her sister would constantly tell her that she is beautiful and her father would put her on his neck or carry in his arms out of love and affection not to impress anybody.
Buhle believes everything she went through while growing up was meant to build her and make her the strong woman she is today. “All that I went through was a phase, a phase I would not wish any girl to go through” she said. She also explained that during this phase she could not do anything because everyone literally had something negative to say constantly being mocked and called names like “beko, Oros, piglet” and other hurtful things. It was an emotionally and physically draining phase of her life.
All these challenges shaped her into the fearless lady she is today and she has grown to love herself unapologetically, she has a positive outlook on life and she is very confident. Even though people do get mean at times and it gets to her she remembers that her parents love her regardless. “I learned to believe my parents over every negative thing said to me on the streets”. She strongly believes that she has been put on this earth for a great purpose and that God has a reason for creating her the way He did. “I’m like God, I you want me to share what I have with people, I will do it, give me the strength and confidence” she added.
Buhle has been doing outreaches, speaking on body positivity. She has went to a few primary and high schools including : Vulamasango,Daluxolo,Ihobe,Kagisho and Comtech .
Her biggest goal is to teach people to love themselves regardless of how they are formed, “we are all beautiful and we should learn to love ourselves”.
Through all the hard times she learned to love her body including her cellulite and stretch marks, she even came up with the chubby girls crop top and mini skirts challenge. Nobuhle is grateful for everyone who stood by her and continues to support her consistently without judging her and love her with all her imperfections. “I am perfectly fine for the hearts that are meant to love me”.