Mbabane: Philani Maswati, Queen Ntfombi Tfwala’s charity organization is selling masks to the public. According to an advert placed on the organization’s official Facebook page the masks cost E10 each. According to the advert the proceeds from each sale of the masks will go towards the support of the impoverished. The design comes with the country’s flag sewn at its far end.
However, this does not hit well with a group of business women who felt the making of the masks is an opportunity that should have been given to them, and in fact, the group, which consists of business women from around Mbabane were approached by the Small Enterprises Development Company (SEDCO) and made known the opportunity to make money.
A member of the group who preferred anonymity alluded to the fact that SEDCO provided the opportunity as part of their mandate to raise small businesses in Eswatini, but they were abundantly disappointed to learn that an organization of the caliber of Philani Maswati had seized the opportunity and deprived the group of their sought after livelihood. *Sibongile said she’d expect that organization freely distributes the masks as a charity organization; it doesn’t matter that the proceeds from the sales would go to helping the needy.
“The opportunity was seized from us before we could even sew the first mask,” said Sibongile, who added that on getting the news from SEDCO they were overjoyed since they would be able to provide for their families. She said in the wake of COVID-19 the situation at home was dire and such opportunities as presented by SEDCO to sew masks had come at the right time. “Business is slow and as everybody knows the market has crumbled, so, prospects such as the making of masks should have been reserved for the small businesses,” said Sibongile.
Even the masks have been received with mixed feelings on the part of the public, provoking a response from one of the organization’s volunteers, EBIS’ radio personality Gcebile Mvubu who issued that people should hold back their support if they so wished, instead of being negative towards the project whose intent is to help the most vulnerable of Emaswati.