Then government asked people to stop buying the surgical masks so that there were enough for medical staff. South Africans were urged to instead use fabric masks.
So Sigobo looked online for guidelines on how to make these masks at home, at first to protect herself and her family. When President Cyril Ramaphosa said it would be mandatory to wear the masks in public, she realized a business opportunity existed.
“I realized that not all people will be able to make cloth for themselves but we all have to use the masks hence I decided to make them in bulk and sell to my fellow residents”, says Sigoba.
Sigoba says she is able to sew more than 50 cloth masks a day. She ensures they are made with the recommended woven fabric and three layers to guarantee effectiveness. But she also wanted to make them as appealing as possible.
“I believe that if we make cloth masks in a fashionable way, it can encourage people to wear them and help to protect each other against coronavirus”, she says.
She sells the masks for R35.
Covid-19 spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, from coughing, sneezing or even speaking.
WHO recommends that people thoroughly clean their hands before putting on a mask.
“Slowly but surely even people in rural areas seem to be understanding the importance of wearing face masks in public places to help limit the spread of Covid-19. For us to win this fight we have to all start to embrace wearing masks as part of our new culture. I always teach people how to wear cloth masks perfectly using the guidelines from our government”, added Sigoba.
The following are the guidelines on how to use cloth mask as recommended by the department of health.
- The face mask must cover the nose and mouth completely.
- Face masks should not be lowered when speaking, coughing or sneezing.
- Face masks should not be repeatedly touched-fidgeting with the mask repeatedly is strongly discouraged.
- The inner side of the mask should not be touched by hands.
- Wash hands after removing the face mask.
- Wash cloth face masks with warm soapy water and iron when dry.
- Each person will need to have at least 2 face masks so that one mask in available when the other is being washed.
For more information on Covid-19 in South Africa, you can call the toll-free line on 0800 029 999, or you can send a message that says “Hi” on WhatsApp to the number 060 012 3456. You can also visit the SA Coronavirus website.