Maureen Kunga, one-third of Afro-pop group Elani, has for the first time opened up about her struggle with weight loss and how it took a toll on her self-esteem.

“For years, my weight was a genuine cause of pain – something I never openly discussed, maybe because of fear of insult, maybe because it was truly something that I thought I would never be able to overcome. Maybe because I was truly embarrassed and ashamed to be so heavy,” she said.

“I tried and failed, used horrible “quick-result” methods of weight loss that never stuck. I broke myself down in my mind and could not see myself as anything other than a “fat girl”. I destroyed my own self-esteem.”

According to the talented songstress and lawyer, her turning point came about two years ago when she decided to take the bull by the horns.

“In 2016 I made the decision that I would stop punishing myself and I would give myself permission to take my weight-loss into my own hands and find something I can commit to,” said Ms Kunga.

Two years later, Kunga is 16 kgs lighter and she could never be more proud of herself.

“16kgs (and a few to go), and a whole lot of self-esteem later, I am happy, and I am proud. I achieved something I had never thought possible and I’m proud of myself for it.”

She also shared a before and after picture of her transformation and wrote: “I was VERY shocked when I saw a TBT of the old picture on the internet. I immediately went to find that dress, wore it, and had to hold it taut behind me for it to look normal. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so proud of myself, and that green dress represents a lot for me now.”

The singer has also ventured into vlogging on YouTube, with her first video detailing how she lost 16 kgs.

She says: “This is the story and the journey, and an introduction into a project I truly am happy to be starting – Have Your Cake and Eat It – a platform where we can grow and learn and discover different ways to achieve our health and weight loss goals! A very big part of this channel will be learning to make healthy alternatives to the foods that we know and love, as we continue on our journey to health together!! That was my “secret”!!”