Sisters are doing it for themselves – standing on their own two feet when nature calls.
In South Africa‚ thousands of women are urinating like men with a little help from a silicone gadget imported by entrepreneur Lychelle Lill.
The device – which resembles a funnel with a specially engineered tip to ensure the urine travels in a straight line – is taking off fast.
The first lilac-coloured devices hit the local market in 2010 but in June Lill has seen a dramatic upsurge in demand – up 108‚8% since May. And she is completely sold-out.
But it has been a long road for the 31-year-old Capetonian to change perceptions in the loo. Her sales pitch was often met with confusion but now she believes the ”market is ready for it”.
Lill was married to a professional cyclist and travelled the world with him while working towards her BCom degree through Unisa when she heard of the product‚ called GoGirl‚ while in the US.
It was designed by an orthopaedic surgeon after his mother had surgery and struggled to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. In the US it is marketed to women who find themselves squatting outdoors.
But Lill also anticipated it could help women who do not have access to decent toilets in South Africa. She registered the device as a medical product that doctors can prescribe and medical aids will pay for depending on the scheme.
”In addition‚ when you squat in a dirty public toilet‚ your pants are on the floor where most of the germs are and your panties are suspended around your knees which is up against the dirty toilet bowl‚” said Lill.
In the beginning she spent hours handing out pamphlets and selling her one-size-fits-all product. Now it is available at pharmacies and stores.
“I’ve been using mine since 2009. It folds up into a small tube and I carry it in my bag. It is even safe to clean in a dishwasher. Urine is sterile unless you have an infection‚” she said.
To date 22000 units have been sold here.
Nerina Fourie from Pretoria has had hers for two years.
“I usually use it when I go camping and do not want to walk long distances to the toilet‚” said Fourie.
Roderick Klue is a manager at a Mossel Bay store that specialises in camping equipment.
“It sells well especially over December. Women who go camping but don’t want to sit in the bush use it‚” he said