Black SA goes under the knife

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Whether they are doing it for their physical foibles or to turn back the hands of time, affluent black South African women are going under the knife in droves.

To fit into what the media presumes is attractive they are altering their appearance or reducing the signs of aging through cosmetic surgery.

Laurence Chait, a professor at Parklane Clinic in Johannesburg, says the most popular operation with black clients is breast reduction, followed by abdominalplasty. The latter removes excess skin and fat.

Liposuction is also popular for the thighs and buttocks.

In a society where black men generally prefer rounder- bodied women, plastic surgery is often frowned upon.

It is viewed as something for wealthy socialites and successful and vain movie stars.

Connie Masilo-Ferguson underwent rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, to improve the shape of her nasal tip. If her beauty is anything to go by, it worked.

Baby Jake Matlala underwent dental surgery to trade his Soweto gangster look for a business honcho look.

Psychologists suggest that plastic surgery might change the way you look, but it won't necessarily make you happier.

Emotional problems are rarely skin deep and trying to conform to a popular image of the body beautiful might not solve problems of disillusionment and lack of self-esteem.

New York socialite Jocelyne Wildenstein, aka the Cat Lady, is said to have changed her face to look like a cat in an attempt to save her marriage and be more appealing to her husband - an avid hunter. He left her.

You can't write about plastic surgery without talking about Michael Jackson, whose transformation from a normal-looking black boy to a freaky white man we all watched with horror.

Things you need to know before seeking plastic surgery:

l Make sure the surgeon is a member of the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of South Africa and is in good standing with the health professionals' council.

l Patients must have realistic expectations about what can be achieved.

l The patient must have a thorough consultation with the surgeon and be comfortable with all explanations. Or seek a second opinion.

l Before undertaking cosmetic surgery the patient must be in good health, should not be smoking and should not be on any dangerous medication.