Great rhino mask – but does it work?

Kabelo Tlhabanelo

There is no doubt that Johannes Mokobe’s unusual face mask turns heads, but people are not sure if it is safe.

The mask that Johannes from phase 9 in Mangaung, Free State, made himself from reeds is shaped like a rhino horn, with holes that doctors say is not safe to prevent the coronavirus.

Johannes, who has been using the unusual mask since the beginning of lockdown in March, told Scrolla.Africa that he is scared of corona and he doesn’t want to die.

“I see many people who don’t wear masks and that worries me,” he said.

“I use a mask that encourages me to practice social distancing and attracts attention at the same time. People in suits have stopped me to take pictures.”

He said he has been asked for safe selfies and some have even teased him. 

“I tell them they should also come up with creative ideas to make their own masks. The goal is to see everyone wearing masks and staying safe,” he said.

He said while wearing the mask he can breathe easily and also talk on his cellphone. 

“Some people have said the mask didn’t look safe but I have not experienced any corona symptoms. I’m scared to die and I will not stop using my mask. I want to live until I reach 100 years,” said Johannes. 

Mathapelo Mojanaga said at first she thought Johannes was campaigning for the end of rhino killing. 

General Practitioner, Doctor Tshidiso Mokeki in Bloemfontein told Scrolla.Africa the mask does not look safe.

Doctor Mokeki said: “It looks very stylish, but I’m not sure it’s effective as I don’t know how it was constructed. It may actually be very porous, especially if you can see the rays of the sun through it. It is probably not very safe.”