The business of masks in Africa has grown tremendously in a short period, this is due to the corona virus pandemic. Most African governments have turned to local textile manufacturers as well as small and large scale fashion brands to assist in the making of both surgical and cloth masks in order to curb the spread of the pandemic.

(Photo courtesy of Getty image)

The support from various governments in the continent has  shocked many as most African countries heavily rely on China and this is because, most governments, allegedly claim that the local industries are incapable of manufacturing good quality products in bulk.

Wearing a mask everywhere is the new normal, but let’s face it, surgical masks are just not cute. Fashion brands across Africa have switched up and stepped out of their comfort zone to provide stylish cloth masks, in response to the desperate need for protective measures against the spread of covid-19.

I commend all African fashion brands that immediately stepped up and started manufacturing cloth masks. In times like this, businesses that are able to think out of the box and provide essentials, will thrive.

Some of the women owned brands that have stepped up to provide cloth face mask are; Shop New Level by Nancie Mwai, Airimu Klan, Ikojn by Cris Njoki and Vivo Woman just but to mention a few. The above women owned brands are not only making masks for commercial purposes but also, distributing a few to the needy. For example, Shop New Level gave away around 500 pieces (This is in reference to their Instagram page and Ikojn have solely made mask for the public for free and one can purchase them on their Instagram page @ikojnlive  

(Photo of a young Liberian woman with her cloth mask designs. Courtesy of AFP Agency)

The product is good enough to filter out hazardous particles and bad smells as well as droplets from sneezing which is one of the ways of contacting the virus.   
The cloth masks are not meant to replace surgical masks but a fashionable alternative, to those who can’t access the surgical masks. There is a shortage of surgical masks and therefore, most people should look into cloth masks and leave the surgical masks to health officers as they need them more than we do.

Cloth masks are reusable, stylish and can be made at home, just make sure that your masks have the following 3 protective layers in order for them to be effective; Outer layer fabric,middle layer, non-woven water repellent fiber fabric and an inner layer lining.

World Health Organisation (WHO), recommends that everyone should wear a mask when out in public in order to protect others in case they are unknowingly infected. Remember surgical are not like reusable cloth masks which can be sanitized with soap and water, they should be safely disposed after one-wear. Kindly DO NOT  use face masks on children below the age of 3 years as well as on people with breathing problems.