Art meets fashion to raise funds for breast cancer survivors

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Dr Brian Monaisa is the brains behind the initiative to raise funds for the reconstructive surgeries of breast cancer survivors.
Dr Brian Monaisa is the brains behind the initiative to raise funds for the reconstructive surgeries of breast cancer survivors.

He's worked with survivors first hand and knows the emotional upheaval they often go through.

This is why he's going to be part of a glitzy evening of glamour at the Porsche Centre in Kyalami this month, where the proceeds will go towards funding the reconstructive breast surgeries of women affected by breast cancer.

Dr Brian Monaisa, a plastic surgeon, says a conversation with other art loving friends was what put the wheels of this initiative in motion.

“I am an art collector and an art investor. I was speaking to a couple of my friends who are artists and they said they would like to find a way to contribute to society. I said if they donated their art, I would donate my time and surgery for reconstructive surgeries.

“We had our first auction last year and we were able to raise a little over R300 000. With that, we have been able to do two surgeries this year. We would like to do more so that we can help more women.

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“The springboard for the idea was a woman in her late 20s who was an entrepreneur and had everything going for her. The last thing she expected was to be diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have mastectomy. I did her reconstruction, and I will never forget her joy and how she regained her confidence. She has since gotten married and is living a happy and healthy life, she will be one of the speakers at the event,” he says.

Hosted by Unathi Nkayi, the function will feature celebrated and upcoming fashion designer or brands including Maxhosa, Naked Ape, Siko Republic, Afrika Your Time, Bathini Designs & LSJ designs who will dress celebrities that will interact with guests at the glittering affair.

Artists including Mfundo Mthiyane, Phumzile Buthelezi, Siko Republic, Lerato Motau, Olwethu De Vos, Azael Langa Mandla Mavengere, Nkensani Rihlampfu, Mel Madiba, Zwelethu Machepha and Lebohang Motaung will also showcase their artwork in an exhibition and multimedia installation. This will be followed by an online auction, a fundraising event and activation in October to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Minnie Dlamini, Melanie Bala, Brenda Mhlongo, Robert Marawa and Karabo The Curator are some of the expected guests.

Dr Brian Monaisa founded the Smile Artists Africa event in 2020 with a vision to give cancer survivors a second chance at life.

“The impact that the reconstructive surgeries have on the quality of life for breast cancer survivors is amazing. It helps women feel whole again and help survivors rebuild their sense of self,” he explains.

He says there are a number of reasons why people do not get reconstructive surgery.

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“Some patients just do not have the money for it, others live far from urban areas and do not know what options are available and others have medical aids which only pay for the actual cancer treatment because it falls under prescribed minimum benefits and they do not pay for the reconstructive surgery,” he says.

In their drive to get the information to as many people as possible, Brian says in October they will be visiting university campuses to encourage students about doing regular tests and doing self-examinations, he adds.

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