Tales of a breast cancer survivor: Makosi turns lemons into lemonade


By Margaret Matibiri

Former Big Brother UK contestant and television personality Makosi Musambasi has  defied all odds and brushed away being diagnosed with breast cancer and went on to model in a fashion show championing cancer awareness.

Makosi broke new ground as she becomes the first Zimbabwean to catwalk on the prestigious Runway Dubai even after she had an encounter with breast cancer.

The Runway Dubai Fashion Show was held   last week at Marriott hotel Al Jaddaf, Dubai. It featured catwalk presentations, fashion talent contest, brand exhibitions and musical performances from around the globe.

Makosi was part of it and Mail and Telegraph caught up with her to get an insight of how she keeps going strong after surviving breast cancer.

After having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, Makosi is not yet in the clear of her status even after she has had to aggressively fight it through chemotherapy. She still has to go for routine blood tests after every three months and in this interview , she takes us through her journey as a cancer survivor.

“I noticed that I had a lump in my breast in August 2016 and everything happened so fast from finding a lump and being shocked by how it got there up to the last day of radiation. I only got diagnosed in February 2017 and I was just numb. I was not ready. I was still getting over the fact that the lump was there in the first place. Ironically my doctor called to say it was cancer after my midweek church service and my reaction was God.

“I had to have more surgery and after my second meeting with the oncologist that’s when what was happening kicked in.  I remember coming out of the doctor’s office, falling on my knees just outside Macdonald’s restaurant in Sandton,” she recalled.

At that point, Makosi had come to terms with reality but she could not bear the thought of breaking the news to her family as it would break them, she had to go through the most trying moments on her own.

“My thoughts were how would I tell my parents that  I might be dying. My dying was not as big a deal to me but no parent should ever bury their child. How to tell them was a challenge. During such times one cannot think about oneslf or what adventures you have not had,  I kept wondering how I would tell them. You think of your loved ones and you pray they will be okay without you.

“I did not tell them what was happening at first but my mom stalks me on social media so she saw my surgery post. She called asking me what was going on and I told her that everything was under control because I had not really given them the full story because I did not want them to know how bad it was.” retraced Makosi.

Makosi could not bear the fact of further burdening her family with her own fears, and she had to walk the road alone and put up a facade and act like it was not so much of a big deal.

“I kept telling my family that having breast cancer was not much of a big deal, I did not discuss my fears nor did I go into doctor’s appointments with them and I am glad everything worked out, imagine if it had not. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have. Chemotherapy was the worst. I honestly thought that it was the death of me, but my parents moved in with me at that time and it made life easier for me.

“My mom held my hand through every session, and my hair falling out was not even the worst thing about the process. During the time I had my chemotherapy I kept to myself, mostly in my room alone and to be honest my parents must have been scared by how I looked but as a family we never discussed death, I could not allow it,” she said.

The defiant Makosi still lived her life to the fullest whenever she could regardless of everything that was going on. Besides her having a bald head, she still defiantly wore her makeup rocking and owning the look.

She turned lemons into lemonade so to speak!

“Even with my bald head I still wore my makeup and rocked it. Up to this day, the fact that cancer dared me still sits at the back of my mind. I eat very carefully now and I will only get in the clear after four years so in the meantime I have blood tests every three months and I live to fight another day,” explained Makosi

Although Makosi is not yet in the clear of her status, she has long taken control over her life as she recently graced the Runway Dubai  which she says was an exciting phase of her life.

“I feel like I have been given a second chance to live my life so I try to really live a full life. If my attitude towards life changed, it has changed for the best. Then there came that thrilling experience, Runway Dubai was so much fun. What a privilege! So I had just landed in Dubai from Johannesburg, doctor’s appointment. My good friend, Laurie Idahosa called me saying she was coming to Dubai for a week and because I was so tired nothing more was discussed that day.

“When I called her back, she said she was doing Runway Dubai and wondered if I would like to do it for her friend Nkechi. I was like what! Walking on the ramp after 20 good years. I was Miss Mash East in 1998 and  went on to contest for Miss Zimbabwe so this was exactly 20 years later, how time flies. But Runway Dubai was the best experience of my life,” she noted.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, the founder of Runway Dubai Modupe Omonze said Makosi wanted to send a message of positivity.

“(We have decided) to include diversity and inclusion on the fashion platform to help connect with guests more on a personal level. Encouraging support and togetherness is what people want to identify with. Natalie Oden and Makosi exactly wanted to prove and send the message of positivity and face life with boldness,” said Omonze

The Dubai fashion industry has become a melting pot of cultures as nationalities from all over the world strut on the catwalk, and Runway Dubai’s 2018 show has proven how the ‘industry embraces diversity.’

Meanwhile, Makosi is in the process of identifying schools were she can donate sanitary wear as part of her philanthropic work under her Sisters Keepers Foundation.

The foundation has over the years assisted underprivileged girls and two years ago they visited victims of the Tokwe-Mukosi floods were she donated sanitary wear to the girls.

Makosi Musambasi


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