“Townships … [have] always been a space for people waiting for progress, [a] space where people don’t feel like they can … make [a] change,” says Ayanda Cuba, co-founder of the initiative to distribute masks, aimed at assisting people who live in under-resourced communities.
“I have always felt that people like myself or … my peers or people who have seen solutions that can help, should become the change or push for change,” he adds. He thinks everyone should help their communities realise its potential, allow children to see possibilities and hopefully, create a much-needed ripple effect.
“While our government neglects us, I believe that we should always help where we can and not just give but create conversations and change in communities,” says Cuba.
A target surpassed
Cuba and Buntu Matole created ABCD Concepts, a tourism company. But with tourism one of the hardest hit industries since the pandemic occurred, they have shifted their focus. They think it‘s important to create awareness about wearing masks to curb the spread of Covid-19. Their goal was to design and distribute 1 000 masks. They exceeded and created 1 300 masks.
“The objective was/is to start a conversation about wearing masks, and to remind people that Covid-19 is real and how important it is to protect one another from the virus,” says Cuba.
“We have taken it for granted because … language may [a] barrier. We only acknowledge something when it hits us [at] home. We hope in the end our people will take [the] initiative and wear masks because our communities are dense already, but we do need an ongoing awareness.“
“Initially, [we] targeted elderly people who are the most vulnerable to Covid-19 but then it shifted to targeting dense areas like malls, spaza shops, salons, and street vendors including informal gatherings where people congregate,” says Cuba.
A collective effort
He adds they needed a clear, simple, unique design, that was minimal. The team organised designers who designed masks in bulk and they brought together friends from abroad and locals to achieve their goal.
Volunteers took the streets of Site B and Makhaya in Khayelitsha and donated masks, which was welcomed by the community. While distributing masks, the team also sanitised people.
Cuba says: “With projects like these it is very hard to sustain, this is a trial and error process because we need to pay people to make masks, yes it impacts our communities and there’s a risk of making commitments to the community and saying we will give masks, but without donations to get these masks done, we cannot continue or deliver again.“ – Health-e News
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.