Brands showing solidarity (Ubuntu) in the fight against COVID-19

From Louis Vuitton to Ralph Lauren and South Africa's showbiz darling Bonang Matheba, here's how some of the world's most loved brands are stepping up to show 'Ubuntu' - which is essentially about communities, countries and the world working together for the common good - during the COVID-19 global crisis.

A group of volunteers holding food parcels to be donated to the Diepsloot community
Steyn City Foundation delivers food parcels to neighbouring Diepsloot

‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’ is a common Zulu phrase meaning “a person is a person through other persons.” And, it appears that many brands – whether its individuals or organisations – that embody the very essence of being human are taking this more seriously as efforts in the fight against the deadly epidemic intensify.

Below is what brands are doing to show solidarity with those affected by COVID-19.

  • Louis Vuitton reopens 12 French factories to make masks

With throngs of frontline health workers in dire need of protective gear to help fight the spread of coronavirus, high fashion retailer Louis Vuitton reopened 12 of its 16 French ateliers on Wednesday (April 8) to start the production of hundreds thousands of the protective non-surgical masks.

The decision follows a plea from the French government for nonsurgical masks, which led to hundreds of artisans mobilised by the luxury French fashion house to produce the required masks.

Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO, had this to say during his visit to the brand’s Sainte-Florence workshop, where more than 20 artisan volunteers were stationed.

“As an important French House, Louis Vuitton wishes to commit at its level to producing many thousands of masks that will be distributed within the region, at no charge, to protect those who are most exposed.”

He added: “This production is the fruit of a wonderful collaboration with the regional sector of the textile industry.”

The company plans to keep between 20 percent and 30 percent of its masks for internal staff, with the rest set to be donated to retirement homes.

  • SA TV star Bonang Matheba donates food parcels to needy families 

Television presenter Bonang Matheba joins a handful of South African celebrities doing their bit to assist those affected by the epidemic. 

The star has been donating grocery vouchers to families with no means of feeding their loved ones during this difficult time.

“Please help me identify 25 families in need … I wanna send them some grocery vouchers. We’ll donate R2,000 to each family. Please. I’m so sad,” read an Instagram Matheba posted as she pleaded with fans to help her identify families in need of assistance.

Matheba’s charitable efforts comes after the internationally renowned DJ Black Coffee kicked off a series of virtual live perfomances to help raise funds for the Solidarity Fund, established by president Cyril Ramaphosa to help deal with the fallout of the novel coronavirus.

Held every Saturday, the weekly intiative – dubbed Home Brewedlive Stream – has raised more than R90,000 in its debut.

  • Ralph Lauren sets aside $10 million towards COVID-19 relief efforts

As humanitarian efforts intensify worldwide to combat the widespread of coronavirus, Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation announced it will donate $10 million towards efforts to tackle the disease. 

As designer Ralph Lauren explained, the foundation has set aside funds towards supporting communities around the world that have been hard hit by the COVID-19.

The announcement was made in an inspirational Instagram post below, detailing the goal behind the initiative dubbed, “In the spirit of togetherness, we rise.”

  • Steyn City Foundation delivers food parcels to neighbouring Diepsloot

The Steyn City Foundation showed its care for the members of the neighbouring Diepsloot community, west of Johannesburg with the delivery of 3 000 parcels – comprising fresh produce and soap – on Thursday (April 9) to key vulnerable centres and NPOs.

The project represents a partnership between Fidelity (Steyn City’s security provider), NPOs, Bidvest International Logistics and the South African Police Services (SAPS) in Diepsloot and Douglasdale, who made their trucks available for the collection and delivery without charge.

Steyn City Foundation delivers food parcels to the neighbouring Diepsloot

The foundation has also received enormous support from Steyn City’s residents and golf members, who have given generously to the initiative in addition to volunteering to providing a variety of services.

The delivery is a measure to help residents whose income, and therefore access to food, has been threatened by the virus pandemic, according to Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties. “The value of fresh produce, and the vital immune-boosting nutrients they contain, cannot be underestimated at this time.”

He added: “Obviously, a deployment like this comes with its own complexities, and so our teams on the ground have taken stringent measures to protect both themselves and those in Diepsloot from infection.”

To this end, parties involved in the deliveries are implementing strict social distancing as they take packages to individual centres and homes.

With each household in Diepsloot housing between four and six family members, it’s clear that the community is in dire need of help. As such, the Steyn City Foundation undertakes to address this need, with more small but frequent fresh produce deliveries planned going forward.

  • iCE3: Crypto can conquer COVID-19 campaign

With covid-19 cases in South Africa continuing to increase dramatically, everyone’s commitment to fighting pandemic is appreciated. To play its part, iCE3 exchange has committed to making toilet paper available to the less fortunate in the City of Matlosana in the North West Province of South Africa.

Working with the Mayor of Matlosana, Cllr. Maetu Kgaile and a local toilet paper manufacturer, iCE3 exchange successfully managed to get the project of the ground more than a week ago.

Together with local and international support from the likes of BitcoinZAR, and TradeCrypto, the team believes a real positive impact in the community can be made during a time when the country is witnessing a rise in confirmed cases.

“I originally hail from the City of Matlosana and when the effects of the lockdown became apparent the team and I did some brainstorming to see how we can help alleviate the impact of this pandemic locally,  in some small way,” said Gareth Grobler, iCE3 founder and CEO, adding: “South Africans are resilient people and it is a privilege to be a part of this project.”

iCE3 will be donating toilet paper on a weekly basis in Matlosana and hopes to increase the volume and frequency over the coming weeks. As seen in this video footage, the first 1000 rolls were collected on Monday, March 30, by the Mayors’ representatives and distributed to pensioners queuing to collect their social grants administered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). 

By supporting local communities in times of crisis, iCE3 CEO Gareth Grobler believes real-life use cases of the power of cryptocurrencies can be realised within Africa

*For brand focused South African news and heads-up on the great things your favourite lifestyle brands are doing to empower local communities, make sure to visit the Empower SA page daily!