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AfriForum and Princess Gabo Foundation empower Tswana community to fight COVID-19

AfriForum and the Princess Gabo Foundation are empowering the Tswana community to fight COVID-19 by creating and distributing instructions in Setswana to community members to make homemade washable masks. The instructions will be distributed and the mask making effort coordinated with the aid of local traditional leadership structures and other community institutions.

Two sets of instructions will be distributed. The first set of instructions explains how a cotton T-shirt can be used to make a mask by only using a pair of scissors. The second set of instructions explains how to make a mask using a sewing machine or needle and thread. Socio-economic realities dictate that instructions do not involve expensive materials or specialised machines. Community members with the skills and sewing machines can ensure the supply of washable masks to their whole community.

“At a time like this when we are hit by a disease that knows no colour, no class, no social standing, I believe we must all come together. Now is the time to break down the walls that we have built around ourselves that hinder us from progressing, while at the same time we preserve and develop our cultural identity. We can only progress if we find solutions together, without promoting the ‘us and them’ narrative. This is a time for servant leadership that is passionate about communities and community development. Our organisation therefore believes that we must work with everyone and I am very appreciative of this opportunity,” says Kgosatsana (Princess) Gabo Moroka-Motshabi, Chairperson of the Princess Gabo Foundation.

To enable understanding of the complexities of the pandemic and to mobilise communities to change their behaviour to curb the spread of the virus, information in the home language of as many communities as possible is imperative. AfriForum therefore decided to produce instructions for the making of homemade masks in indigenous languages in cooperation with community organisations to address this critical need and to contribute to the safety of communities across the country.

“Communities have the ability to supply masks to each community member through initiatives like this, something that the government will simply not be able to do. Princess Gabo introduced AfriForum to the Setswana slogan ‘Emang, lo itireleng, lo tshwaragangeng!’, which can loosely be translated as ‘Stand up, take responsibility, work together!’ – a confirmation of a common spirit of self-reliance that also lies at the core of our approach,” says Barend Uys, Spokesperson for Intercultural Cooperation at AfriForum.

The Princess Gabo Foundation has been hard at work during this time to raise support by supplying dignified food relief packages to households within the community. Currently, almost 1 000 households have been reached and the organisation continues to seek continued support as the need is dire. Princess Gaboilelwe Moroka-Motshabi has also done work towards food security and community development in the village of Nogas Post, where she serves as a traditional leader.

Click here for the instructions.


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