Benefit gala screening to be held for respected writer, showrunner Thandi Brewer

This is to help raise recuperation funds for Thandi Brewer who is battling a third round of cancer.

Respected screenwriter, showrunner and mentor Thandi Brewer (front row, centre) with NFVF's 2013 Spark group. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Friends of Thandi Brewer (FTB) are hosting a red carpet gala screening of Brewer’s quirky comedy film The Chemo Club on Monday at the Market Theatre.

This is to help raise recuperation funds for the respected showrunner, screenwriter, film producer, director, script editor and mentor who is battling a third round of cancer.

The showbiz veteran's experience in the TV industry spans over 56 years.

Some of the most popular shows she has created and/or worked on as a showrunner include the children’s series Dynamite Diepkloof Dudes, 37 Honey Street, SABC 1's critically acclaimed political thriller _End Game _starring Bubu Mazibuko and Hlomla Dandala.

Also under her belt is seven-time Saftas award-winning and international Emmy-nominated Usindiso with one of the latest work as a showrunner being SABC2's first telenovela Keeping Score.

She's been one of the screenwriting mentors of the National Film and Video Foundation Sediba Spark writers programme alongside Julie Hall, Mmabatho Kau and Loyiso Maqoma.

Golden Horn Lifetime Achievement Award winner Lilian Dube - who underwent surgery for breast cancer in 2008 and spreads awareness about the disease - and the multiple award-winning TV, film and theatre actress Brumilda Van Rensburg star in 'The Chemo Club.'

They are set to attend the benefit concert.

There will be musical performances in the early part of the evening, including a videographer who will create footage that will be compiled into something that Brewer can watch and keep as she is not well enough to attend.

A close friend and colleague of Brewer, Hall told EWN that Brewer has done so much for the industry.

“She has started people’s careers. Even for this benefit [screening], I have been putting out a lot of stuff on Facebook. And one of the people who came forward was actually a lady from India. She and her male colleague are two of the first people who donated. She said if it wasn’t for Thandi, she would not be a writer today. So I mentioned this to Thandi just to up her spirit. And Thandi said ‘But I didn’t do anything, I just gave her encouragement.’ Thandi really is an amazing person.”

In her witty self, Brewer recently took to Facebook: “I am in the midst of the third round with cancer. The breast cancer metamorphosed into bone cancer attacking the back. Remember the back pain I used to moan about? That wasn’t just 'writers back'. It was cancer which obviously loves me and wants to live with me on a permanent basis. I’ve no idea how those actresses manage to look palely interesting when playing someone with cancer because I look like hell.

“On the positive side, this was/is the perfect opportunity to use those things I have avoided all my life - drugs. I am carrying around enough morphine in my scarily full medication bag to make a drug dealer weep from jealousy. Irony number one: drugs do not work on me. Morphine is skittish as hell and seldom wants to come to my party. Cannabis oil is supposed to knock you out and help with the pain, right? I’ve never touched the stuff always been very opposed to it on scientific grounds. But I took it. Everyone else apparently it makes sleep. Me? Wideawake, wide eyes staring at the ceiling six hours later.”

One of her mentees, Emma Lungiswa De Wet also spoke about Brewer on Facebook.

"Thandi is an outrageously creative force, feminist and friend. When she took me under her dragon's wing, my writing life and career grew unrecognisably. Every bit of film and TV work I've had in the past two years links back in some way to her mentorship and network. She took a chance on me, and she has given so much of herself to this country's industry and the humans that work in it. It really is time to give her some of the support that she's shown us. Please attend this screening of her amazing film 'The Chemo Club' or donate to fund a back op to blitz the rat-bastard cancer that's damaging her spine."

Brewer needs a back operation.

In a statement, FTB said: “People who know the incredible phenomenon that is Thandi are aware that she has fought and beaten cancer twice. The pain she is in is severe and debilitating. She is in a wheelchair until she can have the operation. We want to help her to get the operation, along with proper pre-care and post-care, so that she can continue her incredible contributions to our industry and our lives.”

FTB said South Africa has an unregulated, often unkind industry that does not take care of its own.

“Let’s show that we, the people of the industry, care. If you’ve ever been graced by the warmth of her friendship, braced by the sharpness of her intellect, challenged by her, helped by her, trained or mentored by her, worked with her or for her, laughed with her, cried with her - now is the time to show up.”

Tickets to the gala screening are available at Webtickets.

_WATCH: 'The Chemo Club' trailer _