Sis’Mavis sparks light in her township amidst a gloomy global pandemic

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Celebrating Langa heroine, fashion enthusiast, a mother, and a grandmother.


By Bathandwa Magqaza

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.


Covid-19 forced the President of the Republic to declare a national lockdown, guided by the National Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, to curb the spread of the pandemic. As a result of the lockdown’s restriction of movement, self-employed people have been greatly impacted having a negative affect on the economy. At the time of writing, Western Cape is the leading province with the confirmed cases of Covid-19.


Mavis Nunu Xaba, affectionately known by her customers as “sis’Mavis” is one of the many self-employed people of our country negatively affected by Covid-19 and the lockdown. Sis’Mavis is a 57-year-old mother, grandmother and an entrepreneur who resides kwa-Langa township in Bitterhout street. Sis’Mavis is a renowned local tailor and she has been in the textile industry for approximately 35 years. She specialises in manufacturing garments for various traditional ceremonies, particularly dresses and suits for a traditional event.



Profit is not what drives sis’Mavis, rather- “passion for sewing combined with enthusiasm for fashion” and the spirit of compatriotism coupled with the love for her people and love for her country.  Nonetheless, she needs profit to survive and to take care of herself and her family as well. However, Covid-19, interrupted sis’Mavis from doing her business as per usual and generating profit.


Her passion for sewing and the love for the people of her people is what made sis’Mavis respond to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s clarion call to all self-loving South Africans to join forces to fight the invisible enemy Covid-19. Sis’Mavis tailors face masks and sells them for R20 each – discarding commercial profit ethos while other face masks manufacturers are selling them for prices which range from R40 to R100. When I asked sis’Mavis why she is selling her face masks at a lower price, she  humbly and confidently replied, “This is to make the product accessible, affordable and savvy for everyone”.



Sis’Mavis is one of the many unsung citizens who are earnestly contributing in the fight against Covid-19. We commend sis’Mavis and many people of her character and calibre who are contributing to the fight against this pandemic.


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