Women are beautiful creatures.We come in different shapes and sizes. Redefined by peoples preferences and insecurities.We are labelled to fit categories that society deems as normal, beautiful and perfect. We as women have also become so bitter as to shame each other and compete for approval of the public just to fit in and be called beautiful. We face different struggles when it comes to how we look and how the public sees us. The definition of beauty has changed throughout time, filtered through various cultures and redefined in so many ways. We met up with Mabontle Portia Mphosi Founder of Sdudla Chronicles to tell us about her journey as a plus size woman.
Tell about yourself, who is Mabontle?
Mabontle is a 25 year old plus-size activist and model. I run a brand called Sdudla Chronicles which aims to make thick women feel comfortable and proud of their bodies. I was born and raised in Soweto then later moved to Olifantsfontein in Midrand. I would describe myself as a bubbly, loud and very opinionated.
How was your childhood like ?
Growing up was really not one of the greatest experiences I have been through. I grew up being called names like Phat and Tsekeleke. In my prime-time in high school the biggest challenge and the worst name I have been called was “Mam Ruby” from Generations. I really hated that because I feel like that touched me more . It wasn’t easy growing up as a phat girl but one day you going to wake up and decide not to succumb to other people.I know am beautiful and what people think of me really doesn’t matter and at some point I decided to love myself for who and how I am.
Why did you choose to call your brand Sdudla Chronicles?
I saw a lot of plus-size campaigns even overseas, but non-of them are talking about Phat. Its always curvy this and that. I felt like those people are trying to run away from the fact that we are phat. I want to inspire phat women, so that when they are being called Sdudla (Phat) its something that they are proud of because that’s who they are. So, if someone calls you phat, you must be able to say am phat, so what? It shows you are proud of who you are without being sugar coated. Embrace the fact that your phat, love your body.
How and when did you start Sdudla Chronicles?
I started it in 2014. My followers used to ask me where I got the clothes I wore? where do I get the confidence to wear bum shorts and walk in the street looking like that? How do I always look good and not feel intimidated? I love fashion, so I figured why not start a page where I actually share with my followers where I purchase my items. It started off as a fashion blog and then later I realised the issues plus-size woman face are beyond finding clothes. Our issues go deeper into us not being able to wear swimwear because we afraid of being judged due to my stretchmarks or cellulite. That’s when it became the movement that it is now, were I get to make women feel comfortable about themselves besides the clothing, make up and so on.
If the was one thing you would change about the way our community see voluptuous women with different sizes as unattractive and lazy?
The one thing I would change is the media. We believe in what the media tells us. If we see in red but the media says its pink then we going to believe it. So, I think if the was anything I could change that would influence our people is the media. The media must stop comparing the two. They must stop claiming that being skinny defines beauty. I believe beauty is beyond how we look, It’s what is within. I honestly feel like a person who is a size 28 is just as beautiful as a person who is a size 48. The media should start promoting both parties equally then the world will be happy place for everyone .
African men are known to love thick boned, phat and voluptuous women. When the trend of blessers started thick girls where accused of being the main targets and preferred type of women. What is your take on Blessers?
Firstly, we have always had blessers living amongst us, it’s just that now it’s going out of hand. Back in the days we had men who would marry young women and it wasn’t a bad thing because they would take care of them. The word blesser is just a label. With regards to blessers preferring thick woman, I think we as plus size women have issues amongst ourselves. Besides the weight issues and trying to get over the comparison between us and skinny women. I have realised that within the community of plus-size women we now have pressure of having a flat stomach in order to become a typically relevant plus size woman like your ThickLeyonce’s and Pulani’s .Out of all of that we are expected not to have cellulite and stretchmarks. We are expected to have a perfect body with big buttocks ,curves ,flat stomach and perfect breasts. It’s pressure that thick women still have. So blessers can choose whoever they like but people should not quote and say that blessers only bless phat woman with small waists and flat stomachs. Its a matter of personal preference and they target women who are desperate & hungry for the luxury lifestyle.
What would change about the mindset of a phat young woman?
Self-Love!!! I struggled a lot with that growing up. Self-love is very important. The minute you love yourself and tell yourself that you are beautiful. The is nobody else who can tell you otherwise because this is what you know. So even if you are called ugly and phat it goes in one ear and comes out in the other because you know you are beautiful just the way you are, with all the stretchmarks and cellulite. I wish someone could have told me that while I was growing up. That “You are beautiful Mabontle and to never let your beauty be confirmed by someone else. You don’t need approval from anybody else” that’s what I can tell the young woman out there.
Who inspires you?
This is gonna be such a cliché but the person that i look up to is Oprah Winfrey. I follow her and anyone who does, knows how far she’s come. She was molested by her uncles. She was raped at a very young age and she grew up in an era where being a woman was not easy, an era where a woman’s opinion was irrelevant, an era where being an educated woman who had more qualifications than a man was an issue, an era where a woman place was in the kitchen and taking care of the children while men worked. She faced all her challenges head on and today she’s the most influential business woman in the world. She’s been through a lot but she did not let that determine her future. Shes proud of her scars and lives to lift up other women. So that’s why she is my inspiration.
Where do you see Sdudla Chronicles 3 years from now?
I see a very huge reality show with interesting women. I have 10 models under my brand so a big house with all the ladies in its would be interesting. I see us being the reason women love themselves. I see Sdudla chronicles being the reason plus-size women can wear whatever they want with their heads held high and oozing with confidence. I see the brand growing into a modelling agency, doing community interventions, trying to speak to young girls and going to schools to raise awareness. Basically, growth throughout the plus-size community.
If you were to be the first black plus-size president, what would be the first thing you would implement?
The first thing I would implement is to have more plus size stores. Accessibility to clothes is the first thing I would change. In other for us to be like everybody else we need to look good and we can therefore feel good. The clothes we find in most clothing stores are hideous. Better clothing and easily accessible clothing.
What events do you host as Sdudla Chronicles?
Last year was one of our biggest years. We had a yoga session, went hiking and we have photo shoots every month. These photo shoots are planned to teach women to be comfortable in their own bodies and we host annual plus-size pool party. We had our 2nd annual pool party on the 2nd of Dec 2017. It’s the first ever plus size event in Mzansi where women can come dressed in what we were told for so many years not to wear. For a day we able to walk around proud of our bodies , stretchmarks, cellulite and our dimples. People can find us on @SdudlaChronicles on Instagram, @SdudlaChronicles on Facebook, @SdudlaChronicle on Twitter and am @mabontle_wa_sechaba on Instagram.