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Mandela University Professor in Philosophy, Andrea Hurst, really has gone above and beyond to embrace the University’s #MaskUp Mandela campaign philosophy of “…each one of us doing something ordinary to ensure an extraordinary impact – that of protecting ourselves and protecting others by simply (making and) wearing masks.”

Starting out very early in the pandemic, Andrea was concerned about the shortage of masks and other protective equipment. So she sat down at her old sewing machine and churned out a whopping 250 masks!

These masks were first distributed randomly to anyone who needed one during the weekly grocery run. A colleague then suggested another option for distribution and hooked Andrea up with the Islamic Medical Association.  The association members had set up a mask-making project and she joined many ladies who donated masks that were then distributed free of charge to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in Port Elizabeth. Andrea was particularly delighted to find out that several her masks were donated to mothers at Dora Nginza Hospital's Children's ward.

As the ISCIA (Identities and Social Cohesion in Africa) Chair, in conjunction with other University entities, she set up weekly seminars on COVID-19 topics, in addition to the substantial amount of writing work she does in her academic role. But that wasn’t enough for this philosophy professor so she cranked away at her antique machine for a few hours every day, usually towards midnight, to make masks.

“Like many people, I felt the need to do something more active, with more immediate, tangible results. Sewing masks was about the extent of my skill set in lockdown conditions” she said.   

Nelson Mandela University’s #MaskUpMandela movement is part of a collective drive to save lives by wearing a mask and help prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Find out more at: