I have lived five years of my life without nipples, says Zoleka Mandela
Zoleka Mandela was reminded that she did not have nipples due to a bilateral mastectomy after her three-year- old daughter noticed something was 'different' compared to her own body.
Zoleka is currently in remission after battling cancer for the second time last year. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer almost five years ago.
The activist was reminded of her bilateral mastectomy when her three-year-old daughter noticed that she did not have nipples.
"I have lived five years of my life without nipples, most of the time, I forget that I don't have them until days like the other day happen ... My three year old daughter looked at hers and was trying to figure out where mine were," she said.
Zoleka asked her daughter why 'mommy' didn't have nipples, and her response was because, "you're yellow".
Zoleka explained that her daughter's response got her thinking about whether having them reconstructed was the right decision.
"The more I think about it, I would much rather the absence of my nipples (or the presence of my warrior scars) teach my children to respect the differences they see in others, in that of their own and to never allow anyone or anything to come between how they chose to celebrate their uniqueness - especially if it serves to empower those who struggle with being truly self accepting," she said.