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When Shann Kieswetter is not assisting students on campus with their written submissions, the George Campus staff member is making masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Learning and Teaching Collaborative for Success (LT Collab) employee together with 45 other women in George has been sewing masks in her spare time for the George Municipal Hospital ever since the call went out for cloth masks to help “flatten the curve” and give South Africa’s health services time to prepare for the expected increase in COVID-19 numbers.

As of 12 May, South Africa had more than 10 652 cases, and 206 recorded deaths from the pandemic.

Shann (left) and her fellow cyber sewers have produced 2200 masks to date but know that millions more masks are needed to help keep South Africa’s 60 million people safer from the virus.

This is also why Nelson Mandela University initiated its #MaskUpMandela movement - to both educate and create awareness around the importance of wearing masks and to call for volunteers to sew masks.

As such, George Campus colleagues and members of the public have come together virtually to get sewing. And Shann is leading the way, sharing her experience in the production and distribution of masks where they are needed most.

It became compulsory for everyone to wear a mask in public from 1 May.

“Our masks (at the George Hospital) were received with much joy and excitement. Some of the medical staff say they prefer our masks,” Shann shares.

She said material, cotton and elastic came from the community of George, and it hoped the giving of “sheets, pillow cases, fabric and so on” will continue so that the growing George Campus team of volunteers can increase their mask numbers and distribute to communities in need.

Also included among the George team are staff members Khululwa Mvango,  Susan Alexander, Charlene Cupido, Dr Sefoko Ramoshaba and his SLD team, Noxolo Nombhembe, Corita Loubser and Jonita Swart.

Others who would like to get involved can sign up on the University’s volunteer page or contact Milisa Piko on All donations are welcome.

Contact information
Ms Milisa Piko
Communications Manager: George Campus
Tel: 044 801 5098