The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is gathering steam in African countries that have recorded cases as compared to for example Italy where the entire country is almost in a lockdown.
The impact on gatherings is an area that most African governments have moved to control. Kenya has barred public gatherings after recording its index case. Uganda and other countries are calling for less gatherings.
Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on entertainment and other cultural events.
May 16: Elba hosts African stars for virtual concert on May 25, Africa day
We have seen a surge in political, economic and diplomatic meetings held over video conferencing apps thanks chiefly to COVID-19.
An upcoming installment is a cross-continent concert featuring some of Africa’s biggest artistes. The Africa Day Benefit Concert will be live on YouTube courtesy MTV Base Africa.
The concert which will feature over a dozen musicians will be hosted by British actor Idris Elba, who himself recovered from the virus months back. Elba has Sierra Leonean parentage. He was granted citizenship on his first visit back home in 2019.
Among the performing artists are Burna Boy, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), M.anifest and StoneBwoy (Ghana), Sho Madjozi, AKA Worldwide (South Africa), Sauti Sol, Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) and Fally Ipupa of Democratic Republic of Congo.
On 25 May 1963, Africa made history with the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) the precursor to the African Union (AU).
Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its creation in May 25, 1963 in the fight against colonialism and apartheid
It also aims at taking stock and progress that Africa has made, while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent face in a global environment.
.— Idris Elba (idriselba) May 16, 2020
TiwaSavagefallyipupa01 lets unite to celebrate #AfricaDay & raise funds for COVID19. Africa Day Benefit Concert #athome on 25.5
MTVBASEAfricaYouTube page 6pm(CAT) & MTV Base 9pm(CAT) #AloneTogether pic.twitter.com/6sL212XCr1
Manu Dibango buried
Cameroon’s African jazz icon Manu Dibango was buried at a private ceremony in the French capital, Paris; where he died in a hospital from coronavirus infection early last week.
The iconic global saxophonist is celebrated for his exceptional blend of jazz, funk and traditional west African styles. His career spanned a period of 60 years.
The entire French Africa region was particularly hit by his death with condolence messages from Presidents of Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Gabon.
Dibango is remembered as a legend who put African music on the world map and inspired many artists including the likes of Benin’s grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo, she described Dibango as the original giant of African music.
Last Friday, Nigerian star Davido also confirmed that his fiancé had tested positive for the virus after she recently returned from the United Kingdom.
“My fiancé Chioma also came back from London recently with our baby. We had no symptoms and still both feel perfectly fine but because of our recent travel history we decided to take ourselves and our all close associates we’ve come in recent contact with for the COVID-19 test on the 25th of March.
“Unfortunately, my fiancé’s results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby. We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still yet to show any symptoms whatsoever.
“She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days. I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as everyone to please stay at home as we control the spread of this virus! Together we can beat this!” he wrote on Twitter.
Cher Papa Manu, repose en paix— Manu DIBANGO Officiel (@ManuDibango_Off) March 27, 2020
Dear Papa Manu, rest in peace pic.twitter.com/H8f9mzL1ld
Ugandan pop-star MP releases coronavirus track
Ugandan lawmaker and afro-pop star Bobi Wine has released a track educating people about the coronavirus and the need to stay alert and keep safe from the virus.
“The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim. But the good news is that everyone is a potential solution. Sensitize the masses to sanitize, keep a social distance and quarantine” part of the song says. The song is in collaboration with a fellow artiste Nubian Li.
It warns about the danger of the virus and the need for people to take it seriously and stay alert. It spells out the symptoms and entreats infected people to seek medication and not spread it. Enjoy the video below:
Congolese ‘King of Soukous’ dies
A Congolese music star reputed by his fans as ‘King of soukous’ – a high tempo dance music enjoyed across the continent died on Thursday in the French capital, Paris.
Aurlus Mabélé real name is Aurélien Miatsonama, was from Congo-Brazzaville and moved to France in the 1980s. He died in a Parisian hospital, aged 67. Though unconfirmed the death has been linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement of his death according to Congolese local news site IciBrazza was first posted by his compatriot Mav Cacharel on Facebook.
“Good evening everyone, I have sad news to announce the death of my famous friend, brother and collaborator Aurlus Mabélé, which happened this Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 14 pm, in the Paris region, from the follow-up of (a) coronavirus (case),” Cacharel’s post read in part.
The deceased’s daughter, singer Liza Monet, also tweeted on Thursday that her father had died of coronavirus.
“Thank you for honoring his memory. It is a great legend of the Soukouss that the Congolese people have lost today. I am inconsolable and collapsed. My dad whom I love so much … Aurlus Mabele …,” a translation of her tweet read.
The BBC reports that his manager, Jimmy Ouetenou, disputed the coronavirus account saying that Aurlus had long-term health problems. He confirmed that talks were afoot to repatriate his body for burial back home.
In the meantime, his coffin will be placed in a burial vault until travel restrictions due to coronavirus are lifted, reports BBC Afrique’s Rose-Marie Bouboutou.
⚫️ #Congo – #Musique : Décès de Aurlus Mabele, le Roi du soukouss des années 80-90 de son vrai nom Aurélien Miatsonama, Aurlus est décédé aujourd’hui à #Paris des suites d’une longue. pic.twitter.com/RJMnYC07GO— ICIBRAZZA (@ICIBrazza) March 19, 2020
Tanzanian rapper tests positive
One of Tanzania’s most popular rappers, Mwana FA, says he has tested positive for coronavirus. Mwana FA, whose real name is Khamis Mwinjuma, said when he had returned from South Africa he started developing a fever and symptoms of the virus.
Tests confirmed that he had Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. In an Instagram post in the Swahili language to his more than 3.3 million followers, Mwana FA said: “I’ve decided to record this video message to tell you that this disease is real!”
He appealed to them to follow expert advice on washing hands and keeping a social distance from others – and not to panic if they caught the virus. Mwana FA signed off with the plea: “Let’s take care of each other.”
The manager of Diamond Platinumz, another one of Tanzania’s big music stars, has also revealed that he has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Known as Sallam, he assured his one million followers on Instagram that he was doing well. “Be safe everyone out there. This too will pass,” he said.
Places of worship – churches and mosques – have been in the middle of government instructions for people to stay away from groupings.
Whereas most religious entities have expressly asked worshippers to say their prayers at home, there are some instances across Africa where religious groups are protesting the orders.
- Rwandan churches closed last week on government orders
- An annual Easter event in South Africa has been postponed
- In Congo Brazzaville mosques have been closed since a government order on Wednesday
- Some bishops in Ghana said government needed to consult before closure orders
- Ethiopian churches asked to regulate service
- Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Sierra Leone ask churches to scale down crowds sizes
- Kenya places of worship shut down
- Senegal ordered all places of worship be shut, orders complied with
Rwanda issues hospitality guidelines
Rwanda Development Board has written to managers and owners of hospitality establishments reminding them of COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
Business that fall under the hospitality establishment include: Hotels, accommodation entities, restaurants, bars, pubs and night clubs. The release dated March 18, 2020 was signed by RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi.
The three-point guidelines were as follows:
- Install hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers in all establishments.
- Entertainment activities have to be temporarily stopped (live bands, DJs, night clubs, pool table games etc) until further notice.
- Customers in restaurants should be served seated and should strictly observe at least one-meter distance.
Rwanda also announced fixed prices for certain basic commodities amid price-gouging by traders. Across Africa, people seeking to stock food for any eventualities and traders seeking undue profit have caused prices of commodities to spike.
South African choir joins corona combat
The Ndlovu Youth Choir in South Africa are making waves on social media with a song preaching effective prevention methods for the coronavirus.
In a 1 minute 6 seconds video, the group in brightly coloured traditional dresses dance whiles advising people on the rampaging virus. The track titled “We’ve Got this – Fight against Coronavirus / COVID-19” advices as follows:
- Wash your hands
- Don’t touch your face
- Don’t go to the doctor, just call
- Don’t panic, we will beat corona
- Don’t spread rumours
The song is in a local dialect with English translations blended in seamlessly. The choir is famous for its animated performance at the 2019 finals of America’s Got Talent. It gained Twitter traction after it was shared by Director-General of the World Health Organization, WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Entertainers react to virus
PSA ❤️? pic.twitter.com/z7BOxWSMVf— Asa (@Asa_official) March 13, 2020
Sierra Leone’s Mos B
African stars cancel global tours
A number of African entertainers are announcing suspension of their planned shows over the coronavirus outbreak. One such is Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz, who via social media announced the postponement of his planned Europe tour that was set to kick off on Friday.
“CORONA VIRUS, We have Postponed My EUROPE TOUR…New Dates will be Announced Soon….#SafetyFirst,” he posted on Instagram. He was scheduled to perform in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany and Sweden.
Nigerian star Davido also announced the cancellation of a North America tour he said has sold-out stressing that the right thing to do was to cancel and protect the health and safety of patrons.
“I’m saddened to halt what has been a fantastic sold-out tour so far, but postponing is the right thing to do. The health and safety of my fans and staff is most paramount and nothing else matters. Be safe and see you all soon! God be with us all!” he said in a tweet.
I’m saddened to halt what has been a fantastic sold-out tour so far, but postponing is the right thing to do. The health and safety of my fans and staff is most paramount and nothing else matters. Be safe and see you all soon! God be with us all! pic.twitter.com/NSG6Y5SltN— Davido (@davido) March 13, 2020
Trevor Noah says “bye” to live audiences
Trevor sings a tribute to The Daily Show studio audience: goodbye, stay well, and we’ll see you soon ? pic.twitter.com/Smmvhu4yzj— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) March 13, 2020