10MillionMasks: Tshwane textile designer creates and hands out free face masks

28 April 2020

By Kathy Berman   

Pretoria - The day she was awarded the contract to design stage costumes for the Soweto Gospel Choir has to feature as one of the high points in the life of young textile designer and founder of Serati Ltd, Ditiro Mashigo, a Tshwane University of Technology Textile Design graduate. 

Ditiro Mashigo describes herself as a social entrepreneur, and is committed to both social equity and creativity.

It was not just the honour of dressing these global giants and Grammy Award winners, but that she was awarded the project in a ceremony presided over by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Born in Limpopo, Ditiro was schooled in Pretoria when her family moved to the capital city, and has lived there ever since. After graduating from Pro Arte Alphen Park High School, Ditiro went on to study at the Tshwane University of Technology, where she majored in fashion design, textile design and technology. 

Ditiro describes herself as a social entrepreneur, and is committed to both social equity and creativity. Between her work for high-profile events, Ditiro can be found teaching sewing skills to young offenders in the Central Prison in Tshwane, or volunteering to lead workshops in knitting, sewing or craft making for inner city kids. 

It's no wonder that amid the Covid-19 global pandemic, Ditiro has become one of the heroes involved in the 10MillionMasks campaign.

10MillionMasks is an NGO that calls on South Africans to help get 10 million fabric masks to the people who need them. The #10millionmasks campaign, which has been run separately by several NGOs, was invited by Independent Media to partner with it in this common goal: encourage people to make face masks using material they have at home. It is hoped that this combined effort will ease the burden on the supply of medical masks which would best be used by healthcare workers and other service providers who work directly with the public.

A collaborator by nature, Ditiro linked up with “Mama Tina”, from the DRC who worked during pre-lockdown from the Pretoria Central Methodist Church on the ‘City Threads’ project. Last year, Ditiro and Tina together spent three months on the African Gospel Choir project working on patterns, printing, and final production, completing 72 units of neckpieces and jilés, mens tops, head-dresses and dresses. Mama Tina was her head seamstress.

The duo are back in production while observing social distancing making Serati Ltd signature face masks, which they are handing out for free to their local communities. 

There is no doubt that these face masks will become collector’s items in the future. For now, they are protecting some of the most vulnerable members of the Tshwane community.

Make your own mask:

Download and print our easy to use cut-out pattern for a face mask, follow the step-by-step instructions on how to make it. Then be a hero too, make your mask and wear it.

Then take a picture of you and your family wearing your masks, post it on IOL's Facebook page and you could stand a chance to win a R500 Loot voucher.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Willa de Ruyter, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 5352   Email: deruyterw@tut.ac.za