Dr. Leon Dumas, a leading South African surgeon said, “Normally there is a perception that everyone wants breast implants, but what we are seeing with our young, black patients is that reduction is the major trend. It’s no longer seen as acceptable to have big breasts or a big body.” Dumas continued, “As young black people become more affluent, they are more open-minded about plastic surgery. And what we are noticing is that the surgeries are mostly cosmetic and voluntary. So people do them not because their health depends on them, but because they often see them as a lifestyle enhancement.”
According to the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Southern Africa, the local trends are in agreement with global trends as the past 10 years has seen an increase of 780 percent in non-invasive procedures such as botox injections and a 128 percent increase in breast procedures.
Association spokesman Dr. Chris Snijman said a growing number of people had been able to have cosmetic surgery because of cheap pricing. “Cosmetic surgery in South Africa is among the most affordable in the world,” he said. And since it is so affordable, Jason Sive, the director of surgical finance at First Health Insurance (FHI, a company that finances plastic surgery), said that now, more than ever, black South Afrikans of different economic classes, people who could not even finance their procedures, were willing to put up valuable items as collateral for surgery-related loans. He said: “A lot of the people we deal with are people who are not able to afford the cost of procedures, or have only a fraction of the money to cover the cost. Now they are willing to invest more in getting it done and are putting up the necessary collateral and going through credit checks to get these loans.”