Heather wearing the African jungle mask

Lockdown Journal: Day 44 (Mask Fashion)

Read all my lockdown journal posts.

It’s Lockdown Day 44 in South Africa. I bought a new mask.

Heather wearing the African jungle mask
Lockdown photo 44: Mask fashion.

I’m becoming less and less interested in just about everything these days. But I’ve become progressively more interested in face masks.

In the span of a few short weeks, these small pieces of cloth or paper that we wrap around half our faces have become the most important piece of clothing in our wardrobes. Like it or not, we’re all required to wear masks (unless you’re the President of the United States or a similar strongman leader, who despite the advice of your own government thinks masks are for sissies).

Masks could — depending on which school of thought you buy into — save your life or someone else’s. We’ll be wearing face masks for months or years to come, maybe forever.

I’ve started giving a lot of thought to the mask I wear — how it looks, how it feels, how it helps or hinders my ability to move through the world. I also give a lot of thought to the masks I see others wearing. It’s the first thing I notice about a person, and I ponder what character of a mask — cloth or paper, solid or print, loose or tight — might say about the person underneath.

[Side note: Small children wearing masks are adorable. I need to get a photo of one.]

While I love the first mask I bought the day before the lockdown started, I realized I needed an upgrade. First off, we need more than one mask as cloth masks have to be washed after each use. Also the fabric in my first mask is not very breathable. Lastly, I wanted to try a mask that ties around the back of my head rather than hooking around my ears.

Yesterday I saw just such a mask advertised on the Art Africa Facebook page. (I blogged about Art Africa in a recent post about local gift shops.) I went and bought one immediately.

Heather in new mask from Whimsical Collection
My new mask. I love it.

The mask is made by Whimsical Collection, a small business based in Cape Town. They normally make bags and pillows and coloring books and greeting cards — all with African animal themes — but like so many small businesses, Whimsical Collection has started making masks.

Mask self-portrait
I continue my love affair with face mask self-portraiture.

There were several designs to choose from but I went with the African jungle theme. I love it because: 1) There is so much to look at! It has zebras and aloes and proteas and hippos and snakes and a pangolin and a wild dog and lots of things I haven’t even discovered yet; 2) It’s made of sturdy, breathable cotton; 3) It ties in the back, which makes it a little harder to put on (I have to put my hair up) but so much more comfortable to wear.

I realize this post sounds like an advertisement for Whimsical Collection. In truth they do not even know I’m writing it.

Mask closeup
I love it so much, I almost want to just wear it around the house.

These masks cost R95 at Art Africa. The shop currently has limited opening hours so it’s best to give them a call before going there to buy a mask.

I’ve ordered another interesting mask online, which I’m eager to photograph myself wearing once it arrives. Stay tuned.

I also have some interesting cooking updates to share but I’ll save those for tomorrow’s post. After 47 straight days of blogging and no end in sight, I’ve realized I need to start rationing my content.

Today’s Worthy Cause

Today I’m featuring the Three2Six Project, an educational program for refugee children who don’t have access to regular South African schools. This project sounds incredible even in normal times, but now Three2Six is coming up with new and innovative methods to continue providing education to the children (most of whom don’t have internet access) during lockdown. Read about it in this Daily Maverick article.

Three2Six is in particular need of donations to procure masks for the children once they’re able to attend school again. You can donate online here, or if you’d prefer to send an EFT here are the details:

Sacred Heart College 
Three2Six refugee children’s project
First National Bank
Eastgate
Branch code: 257705
Account number: 62312243405
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

Thanks so much to Erica Penfold for bringing this program to my attention.

Trixie and Heather with mask
Trixie photobombing my self-portraiture session.

Have a rocking Saturday night.

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17 Comments

  • Reply catji May 9, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    ! These people making cool masks need to sell them online! Essential Services! (courier)
    I would so buy one like that!

    • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      I think you can order for delivery! Check the Art Africa FB page.

      • Reply catji May 9, 2020 at 7:24 pm

        Oh dear :-s Fb again. After..21 months, i still can’t bring myself to go back to it. …One of my friends said he created a new accunt just for about 10 friends, and that frees up about 2 hours a day, but…i dunno.
        I’ll google check for website.

        • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 7:29 pm

          Oh yes I’m sure you can just do it over the phone, too.

  • Reply Di Brown May 9, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    you are such a hardcore legend blogging every day. I love your new mask, but i want one with elastic around my head. Masks are the new fashion, are yours is awesome. Take care and please don’t stop writing to us every day. 🙂

    • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks Di! Sho, it’s hard but at this point I’m afraid to stop as I think I’d lose all purpose in life, hahahaha.

  • Reply Catrina May 9, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    That is a pretty mask!
    I haven’t worn one yet as it’s not a requirement (yet). Perhaps I should start getting used to it.

    • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      Yeah, I think the time will come for all if us eventually.

  • Reply AutumnAshbough May 9, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Very cool mask! I have a friend who is making and giving them away for free. I keep telling her to start on her Halloween line, her Fall leaves line, and her Christmas line!

    • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      Absolutely. This will be a viable business for years to come.

  • Reply Louise Whitworth May 9, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I love this mask, amazing pattern!! I’m also kind of crazy about masks right now. I have 5 now, I’m sure I’ll get more – it’s something we have to get used to and comfortable wearing every day. It’s another new normal.

    The ones which tie up behind your head with 2 strands (below and above ears) , not just ears and one band, are the best I find. Customizing my ‘ears only’ ones to be a bit more like that…

    • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 6:48 pm

      Yeah so far I’m loving the two ties.

  • Reply Fiver Löcker May 9, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Cool mask. My sister in law who runs an old people’s home says you can disinfect the mask by ironing it. The heat is enough to kill anything. If the mask is cotton you can bump up the heat on the iron.

    • Reply 2summers May 9, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      I’ve also heard that. But I think for me ironing is more trouble than washing. I just throw it in the sink with soap and they dry fast.

      • Reply Louise Whitworth May 9, 2020 at 10:31 pm

        If you have them you can use hair straighteners instead of iron, quicker #lifehack

  • Reply Peter May 10, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    Man Oh Man – you’ve got pretty eyes

    • Reply 2summers May 10, 2020 at 7:49 pm

      Hahaha, thanks. I did photoshop them a little.

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