Johannesburg, April 25 (IANS) South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa struggled to put on a face mask after delivering a televised speech on the importance of wearing them amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported on Saturday.
Towards the end of his address on Friday, the President was seen attempting to get the elastic around his ears but only managing to cover his face, reports The Sun newspaper.
In his address, he said: “We are calling on all South Africans to wear a face mask, whenever you leave home.
“Our clothing and textile industry, including small businesses, are gearing up to produce these masks on a mass scale. Let us continue staying safe.
“And thank you for what you have done and continue to do. May God continue to bless South Africa and continue to protect her people.”
But what was meant to be a dramatic, leading-by-example putting on of a mask, instead ended comically as he went to put a one on.
After fumbling around for a few seconds the President managed to get one over his face and said “thank you”.
Ramaphosa’s mask fail led to widespread mockery on social media and the hashtags #MaskOnChallenge and #CyrilMaskChallenge trending on Twitter, said The Sun newspaper report.
The President appeared to take the mockery in good humour and managed to joke about what happened later.
“Well for those of you who were laughing at me yesterday, I am going to open a TV channel where I’m going to teach people to put on a mask,” he said.
“So you can enroll how a mask is put on.”
South Africa went into a 21-day coronavirus lockdown on March 26 and this has since been extended with most people urged to stay at home.
The country has reported 4,220 coronavirus cases, with 79 deaths.