18 March 2012 - 02:17 By MANTOMBI MAKHUBELE
SCARS AND ALL: Thandi Brewer's dress turned heads at the Saftas Picture: KATHERINE MUICK-MERE
SCARS AND ALL: Thandi Brewer's dress turned heads at the Saftas Picture: KATHERINE MUICK-MERE

'I SURVIVED - take me as I am." That is what the chairman of the Writers' Guild of SA, Thandi Brewer, said after turning heads in a daring see-through dress at last week's South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas). .

Brewer is a cancer survivor whose right breast was removed, and she was not afraid to show it - scars and all - on the red carpet at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg, in an olive-green number designed by Pierre Vienings.

"That's why I wear what I wear. I am still here. I survived. Take me as I am," she said.

Brewer, who chairs an organisation that protects the rights of performance writers, said she was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.

She refused to undergo cosmetic surgery because she is "perfectly fine" living with one breast.

"Enjoy every bloody moment of your life. So what if you get cancer in your breast. Just remove the thing and move on with your life."

Brewer said her mother, Fiona Fraser, also had and beat breast cancer and later died aged 76.

However, she said women should act immediately if they find a lump and not do what she did, by living in denial for five years. She now regretted not going for treatment sooner.

"I don't want anybody to do what I did. One day I woke up in the middle of the night in agony."

Brewer has been married for 12 years. She has a 21-year-old daughter, Cody Caprai, from a previous relationship.

The award-winning scriptwriter and director said: "Women should not allow themselves to be defined by the media. They lose the bigger picture about life. You are more than your boobs."

Veteran actress Lillian Dube, herself a breast cancer survivor, said Brewer was a brave woman.

"I think it is very brave of her to do that. Unlike me, unless I tell you I have survived breast cancer, you wouldn't know.

"Personally, I would not do it like she did - but I do show people when they want to see. The main thing is to create awareness," said Dube.

The founder and director of the breast cancer awareness initiative PinkDrive, Noelene Kotschan, said: "We salute all women who have the courage to celebrate their beauty regardless of having been touched by the disease. We believe that beauty is not skin deep - it comes from within."

And Brewer was not shy to celebrate her beauty. "I just thought it's only courtesy to dress up for an industry event. My friends thought the dress rocked."