The Department of Health issued a statement on the 17th of April providing guidelines on the use of cloth face masks. There has been some debate both globally and locally on whether or not members of the public should wear face maks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit of wearing a face-mask is to reduce the spread of the virus through droplets. The main reason we encouraged to wear face masks is not to protect ourselves but to protect others.

Since some people who have the Coronavirus may not know that they are infected or may not have symptoms. The National Department of Health has recommended that everyone in South Africa wear cloth/fabric face-masks when in public. A cloth mask also known as a non-medical mask, the public should not use surgical/medical masks as these must be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

Here are some local South African businesses who are making and selling cloth masks during the lockdown:

Ballo

Since 2013, Ballo has been handcrafting unisex sunglasses from recycled and upcycled materials. In 2016, they expanded to making a range of other goods and products from sustainable fabrics and resources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they began making handmade fabric face masks handmade in Cape Town. They also donate one face mask to someone in need for every one they sell.

ROWDY

ROWDY is a Cape Town-based leather bag company established in 2012. Their range of genuine leather bags are made from premium grade free-range leather. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic the ROWDY Factory in Woodstock, Cape Town has temporarily been re-purposed to make and supply reusable face masks. This will keep some of the ROWDY staff members busy and fill a big gap in supply. The masks are reusable, made from a non-woven polymer fabric and have pleats to reduce permeability.

Zana Products

Zana has been designing and producing fun, bold and colourful textile goods since 2012. They have been given permission to produce and distribute fabric face masks through the lockdown period. Zana will match every sale of fabric mask with a free fabric mask given to those South Africans who are less fortunate. If you buy a pack of 10 then 10 will be given away for free to those at risk, charity organisations, the elderly and the homeless.

Sexy Socks SA

Sexy Socks started in 2014 with a mission to provide every child in South Africa with a pair of socks to wear to school. For every pair of Sexy Socks bought, they give a pair of school socks to a child in one of South Africa’s township schools. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sexy Socks has started making fabric face masks. Their face masks are made in Cape Town by a local women’s empowerment project using fabric off-cuts otherwise destined for landfill. A portion of proceeds goes towards providing face masks to those most vulnerable and less fortunate.

Blu Betty

Blu Betty is a proudly South African authentic leather company based in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. They are proud to be one of the leading shoe brands in the country. They have been issued an Essential Service Provider Certificate and are within the confines of the law to send their fabric face masks to your home via contactless delivery. The Blu Betty masks are made from a double layer of fabric and they have beautiful prints to choose from.

House of Hohwa

House of Hohwa is a fashion line based in Newton, Johannesburg which realised that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives going forward and that face masks are now the new normal. The HoH motto: “Your mask, your fashion statement, your safety”. HoH Masks come with striking designs and they are made with first-class quality textiles. 

Please note:
A face mask will not prevent you from contracting the Coronavirus. The main benefit of wearing a face mask is to reduce the spread of droplets as it will stop you from coughing and sneezing onto others. Cloth/fabric face masks need to be worn and cleaned properly, incorrect use may result in individuals putting themselves at greater risk of contracting or spreading the virus.