INTERVIEW: Meet Bonnie Bonisiwe, the Seamstress Behind the Masks for Goodbye Malaria

Meet Bonnie Bonisiwe, the seamstress behind the masks for Goodbye ...

This Women’s Month we celebrate women who are using their talents to make a difference in the community.

Bonnie Bonisiwe, a seamstress from Lorentzville, Johannesburg, was offered the opportunity to produce masks for Goodbye Malaria.

Having experienced poverty, she was able to empower those in her community by extending this opportunity to three other seamstresses. Together, they have produced more than 7 500 masks to sustain their livelihoods.

The masks Bonisiwe and her team sewed formed part of Goodbye Malaria’s drive to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Speaking to Glamsquad magazine via telephone, the proud designer said:

“When I received a call to ask whether I would be able to make masks, I took the opportunity with hands open, because I wasn’t working at the time. I used to make an income through sewing and people knew that I was a tailor, so they would bring me their stuff to mend,” said Bonisiwe.

Kim Lazarus from Goodbye Malaria said that it’s been an honour to work with women like Bonisiwe.

“We realised that there would be a great need and demand for fabric masks as medical masks needed to be prioritised for our health-care workers on the front line. So, we decided to amplify the good work we do by pivoting our existing network of suppliers, crafters and communities to manufacture washable and reusable Shwe Shwe face masks. Bonnie and her seamstresses are a perfect example of the kind of local talent and skill that was perfectly positioned to meet this need,” she said.

Goodbye Malaria partnered with crafters across the country to produce a variety of stylish merchandise and to donate the proceeds towards a good cause.

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