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AfriForum and VUKO empower Ndebele community to fight COVID-19

AfriForum and the Vulamehlo Kusile Organisation (VUKO) are empowering the Ndebele community to fight COVID-19 by creating and distributing IsiNdebele instructions to community members to make homemade washable masks. The instructions will be distributed, and the project 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 using only 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 necessary skills and sewing machines can ensure the supply of washable masks to their whole community.

“As an organisation that strives for the preservation and development of marginalised languages and culture, VUKO is pleased to announce the collaboration with AfriForum in the translation of instructions for making masks from English to IsiNdebele. The translated instructions will go a long way in assisting our communities that are semi-literate in understanding and producing masks that will help to curb the spread of the coronavirus. We therefore consider this joint project as a milestone in ensuring the protection of all citizens, irrespective of language, culture and economic status,” says Elias Mahlangu, Deputy Secretary of VUKO.

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 avail 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. VUKO shared the IsiNdebele adage “kuvuswa ezivusako” or “help comes to those who help themselves” with AfriForum – a confirmation of a common spirit of self-reliance that also lies at the core of our approach,” says Barend Uys, responsible for intercultural cooperation at AfriForum.

VUKO works with amaKhosi, churches, communities and related institutions in the sustainment and development of isiNdebele as one of the official languages of South Africa.

Click here for the IsiNdebele instructions.

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