Accessibility links

Breaking News

African Artists Raise Coronavirus Awareness Through Song

FILE - Singer turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, gestures during a press conference, held at his home in Magere in the outskirts of Kampala, July 24, 2019.

Music is often called the universal language. African artists are finding that, when trying to spread lifesaving information about the coronavirus pandemic, it helps to have a catchy beat.

Across the continent, musicians are recording songs about social distancing, spotting symptoms and, of course, washing hands. It's all part of an effort to get vital information about disease prevention to people who might not get it otherwise.

African Artists Raise Coronavirus Awareness Through Songs
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:02:16 0:00

Ugandan artist and political activist Bobi Wine starts with cautionary advice. "The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim," he sings. "But the good news is that everyone is a potential solution."

He has teamed up with vocalist Nubian Li for the song "Coronavirus Alert." It has a simple and uplifting message: "Sensitive the masses to sanitize. Keep a social distance to quarantine. The coronavirus is sweeping over mankind. Everybody must be alert! It's a global pandemic we can never take for granted."

Another figure not taking the pandemic for granted is Liberia's President George Weah. He knows the cost of an outbreak. His country lived through an Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015 that took nearly 5,000 lives. This time, he picked up the mic warning people that it could take away their loved ones.

"It could be your momma, it could be your pappa, your brother or your sister, let's stand together to fight this deadly disease."

In South Africa, the country on the continent hit hardest by the virus with more than 700 cases, the Ndlovu Youth Choir is trying to explode myths. The young people from the village of Moutse know that their friends and families are particularly at risk.

"We are from a community in rural Limpopo province that has a high prevalence of HIV and TB," choir director Ralf Schmitt told AFP in an email. "COVID-19 could have a devastating effect on our community and because of this, we decided to make a video to dispel myths about the virus and encourage basic prevention."

The choir has a simple message for the community: "Don't panic, we've got this."