Plus size is the future, says King William’s Town youth Zuko Gugu Silwana. The 15-year-old Kingsridge High pupil got tired of being judged and shamed for her heavy girth and says she wants other teenagers with similar body image issues to feel comfortable in their
Last Friday, she invited other plus-sized girls to strut their stuff in on King Williams Town’s Alexandra Road to make people “see the bigger picture”.
Speaking to the GO! & Express this week, the excited teenager said: “My aim was to make people realise that you don’t have to look like the girl in the magazine. You can look as good as her she is in your own size. You are enough. You can be you!”
Silwana said she still remembers the stares when she wore clothes made for children around her own age, and how her teacher once stapled her clothes together during “civvies day” because they revealed too much skin.
“I was a 13-year-old in a 16-year-old’s body. Parents were warning their children not to play with me, assuming that because I had the body of a 16-year-old, I also had the a mind of a 16-year-old and I would negatively influence their children negatively.”
The trip to being comfortable in her own skin has not been an easy one, she said.
“It took me such a long time to get to a point where I fully accepted my flaws, my stretch marks, my stomach and my fat rolls – they are flawless.”
Despite being put down for her efforts to remove the stigma surrounding plus-sized people, she still carries on with her campaign so that other kids with similar problems do not feel alone. Her journey began with her sister buying her swimming costumes, telling her not to be ashamed to wear them.
“I always wake up and say to myself: ‘I am my own body goals. I am beautiful. I am enough. I am the future’,” she said.
In 2016, she opened an Instagram account which soon gave birth to a totally different dream of helping others.
“I decided that this was it, after the photo shoots and trying to motivate people to see the bigger picture – a flash mob was next.
“I’m all the girls who are 13, living in a 16-year-old’s body. Own it – whether you’re skinny, middle-sized or curvy. You are enough, be you,” said Silwana.