Plett’s Massive Cover-up

25th May 2020

 Plettenberg Bay has managed to pull off arguably the biggest cover-up in its history, a facial one, that is.

Just short of eight weeks ago, before the lockdown, following research and discussion with the Bitou Covid-19 response team, it was decided to produce masks for Plett residents to minimize the impact of the coronavirus on the town.


Soon after, the Masks4All Plett & Beyond initiative was born with the goal to not only produce masks but to boost the income of seamstresses who were finding it difficult to keep head above water during lockdown.


The initiative's Steve Ritky said they initially aimed to make 47 000 masks but that, to date, more than 50 300 masks have been produced. Of these, 44 804 have been donated to those who are not in a position to buy masks. The rest has been bought by locals.


Ritky said that R505 532 has been paid out to those producing the masks. "But that really is not the full story here. What needs to be shared is that, with the exception of R80 000 from the PlettAid Foundation, this was achieved entirely by you (the people of Bitou) for our town and for the people of our town," Ritky said.
"If you dropped a piece of cloth in the trolley at KwikSpar, dropped a coin in the donations account or bought one of the 7 983 masks sold via WhatsApp or via the stores who moved masks for us, you did this."


The initiative has so far received about 5 500sq m of linen and cotton-rich cloth as well as 55km of ties. Laid out, the material donated for making masks would almost cover an entire rugby field. "More than a half-a-million rand has been injected into our local population at a time when the folk who got paid for their masks would have had nothing. How many wedding dresses, ball gowns, kids' toys or other such were made in the last weeks? Virtually none, I guess. These are the people who you have helped to work to feed their families," said Ritky.


Included in the production teams is the "home team", a group of women who have managed to make 6 680 masks in their homes, on their home sewing machines. "Many have blown out their machines. Luckily we had a guy who was cleared to work under lockdown to keep them running."


Ritky said the initiative is not over, and they are now also making masks with company logos on them. "Masks sold in our neighbouring towns here on the Garden Route, will be credited to that town and profits will go towards free masks in that town."


The Bitou fire department donning their personalized masks from the Masks4All Plett & Beyond initiative


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