By Everson Luhanga
When the coronavirus reached South Africa, Candy Maake worried how she could help her community while continuing to make a living.
Candy, a professional designer, hit on an idea. She would make affordable, reusable masks for the masses.
She began by advertising on her social media pages. “I received phone calls for orders as far away as Limpopo. People wanted to have the masks delivered to them,” she says.
She then tried to take the masks to Limpopo but was stopped by the police because she did not have a permit – and did not know where to get one.
She says she is selling them at an affordable price in Alexandra where most people are at home not working. “It breaks my heart to see people going to the congested malls without wearing any protection.
Wearing a mask is especially important in overcrowded townships like Alex where social distancing is difficult.
A number of doctors and health experts have called on the government to make the wearing of masks compulsory because it could save many lives.
Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Minister of Health, has called on the public to wear cloth masks.
Many people who carry the virus do not look sick but can pass it on anyway. You do not know who is a silent carrier.
If everyone wears a mask, it becomes much more difficult to pass the virus on.
Candy says her masks are of good quality and you can wash them after using them.
She says she would love to make the masks in large quantities and deliver them to the villages in Tzaneen in Limpopo where she comes from. “People in the villages don’t have access to proper sanitation and don’t have money buy the masks. Some don’t know where they can find them.
“If I can have the plan to take the masks to Limpopo, my heart would be full,” said Candy.
She says her biggest challenge is finding elastic strings. “I am limited in production because I don’t have enough strings. I wish someone could help me with those so that I can help the nation fight the Covid-19 pandemic.”