Ugandan musician and rising political influencer Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine released a song titled Coronavirus alert on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, to help communicate the pandemic in Uganda.
With a message on the deadly virus and how to avoid its spread, Bobi Wine together with fellow artist Nubian Li stated: “the bad news is that everyone is a potential victim but the good news is that everyone is a potential solution.” Laced with East Africa’s signature rhumba melodies, the song talked about the importance of personal hygiene to curb further spread of the virus, and charged people to regularly wash their hands, keep a reasonable distance amongst themselves, and be alert by looking out for symptoms such as cough and a fever.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday that there are 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country which included an 8-month-old baby. Although the administration of President Yoweri Museveni has already taken a raft of measures to contain the outbreak such as sealing off borders, closing bars, and banning public gatherings, some nationals are still oblivious to the virus.
Joel Ssenyonyi, Bobi Wine’s spokesman, told Reuters that one effective and creative way of communicating the pandemic of COVID-19 is through music. Ssenyonyi added that “most people love to listen to music so what better way to put across a message than through music.” He revealed that Bobi Wine is also making efforts asides music to sensitize people through handing out jerry cans and soap to improve handwashing in communities and distributing press releases on COVID-19.
Similarly, other African artists are creating catchy songs to promote awareness of the virus across the continent. In a tweet by South African Ndlovu Youth Choir early this month, the group shared a short video where they explained in song some of the basic guidelines and preventive measures for coronavirus, ruling out any dangerous myths or misunderstandings people may have concerning the virus.
In Africa where a significant number of the population has no access to the internet, traditional media like televisions and radios are used predominantly by rural dwellers. Songs by Bobi Wine, Ndlovu Youth Choir and other artists that help sensitize people on the COVID-19 pandemic should be played across various radio and television stations. Thus, it will lead to a successful dissemination of the message causing more locals to be aware of the virus and abide by the necessary guidelines to prevent its spread.