THE double-layered 100% cotton, washable and reusable masks.
THE double-layered 100% cotton, washable and reusable masks.

Coronavirus: KZN seamstress sews her own masks to 'stop people from being ripped off'

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Mar 26, 2020

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Durban - EXTREMELY high prices for masks prompted a KwaZulu-Natal South Coast woman to channel her sewing skills into creating double-layer 100% cotton, washable and reusable masks.

Leeanne Johnston, 46, from Winklespruit, said her idea to sew masks came after a few of her friends messaged her about sewing masks and moaned about a box of 50 masks costing about R900.

“I really felt bad for the community. Big businesses are ripping people off and it breaks my heart,” she said.

Johnston felt it was concerning that an expensive mask ended up in the bin.

Instead, her masks are cheaper, at R20 each, and they also help in stopping people touching their mouth and nose.

She said it was not about making money, but helping people.

“I certainly didn’t have this on my to-do list, it’s a labour of love. This is a time to come together and help each other,” she said.

Johnston started sewing masks last week and has already made thousands of rand.

She said even businesses like the local Shell garage had asked her to make 80 masks for them.

To keep up with demand, she wakes at 2am and goes to bed as late at 11pm.

She sews at least 70 masks each day.

Meanwhile, the more fortunate were able to buy hand sanitisers, gloves and masks earlier this month before pay day, those who left coronavirus safety shopping to the last minute on Wednesday were left frustrated as these products were no longer available on many store shelves.

A wholesaler in Westmead, Pinetown, that sells medical supplies including masks and gloves, said yesterday stock had run out.

At the Game store at Pinecrest Mall, an employee said its shelves for sanitisers had been empty since it was cleared by customers when news broke of the first case in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this month.

At Dischem, the line at the door seemed not to end as customers left while others arrived.

Daily News

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