SA women put best breast forward

2012-08-18 16:32

Celebrity obsession with plastic surgery is persuading middle-class black women to go under the surgeon’s knife

More and more middle-class black South African women are flocking to plastic surgeons to nip, lift and tuck their bodies into what they believe is an ideal shape.

The rise in the number of women going under the surgeon’s knife to create their “perfect” bodies is partly thanks to celebrities openly celebrating their own enhancements, experts say.

It’s also the result of reality television shows like Dr 90210, which follows Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Robert Rey.

Cosmetic surgical procedures have become so popular in South Africa that companies like First Health Finance offer loans to people who can’t otherwise afford them.

Jason Sive, First Health Finance’s director, said the number of black women seeking loans for cosmetic surgery had risen from 5% of their client base in 2008 to 12% last year.

The most popular procedures among this demographic, Sive said, were tummy tucks, breast lifts and breast augmentation.

In recent years, a number of high-profile black women celebrities have openly and proudly revealed their own surgical adventures – among them socialite and actress Khanyi Mbau, kwaito star Mshoza, TV personality Sandy Ngema, actress Keabetswe Motsilanyane and former Miss Teen Masechaba Dlengezele.

Sive said the new conversation around comestic surgery among celebrities had raised awareness for ordinary women.

“The industry used to be fairly taboo, with nobody talking about having any procedures.”

But today, he said, many people spoke openly about having their noses or breasts “done”.

Joburg plastic surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia echoed Sive’s sentiments.

Mia said: “People used to keep it secret if they had cosmetic surgery, but now they talk openly about it.

“Cosmetic surgery was not something you talked about openly in black culture, but in the past few years this has changed. More people publicly and unashamedly admit to having done it.”

Mia told City Press that although he did not have figures to support his statement, there was a growing demand for plastic surgery among black South African women – particularly in the past two years.

“I see more and more women who want to have cosmetic surgery in my private practice,” he said.

Sive said shows like Dr 90210 had also showed people how accessible cosmetic surgical procedures could be.

Plastic surgery is not cheap.

A breast augmentation costs at least R36 000, while a tummy tuck costs about R45 000, depending on how much fat and skin needs to be removed.

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