It appears we have come to the point we dreaded the most. The danger has been looming for a little while and now we are about to face the danger head on.
Musicians have joined all and sundry in throwing caution to the wind in as far the response to the global novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is concerned. After staying idle for over two months, a number of artists have announced the commencement of live public performances.
They say they are following the lead as demonstrated by political leaders, both from the governing side and opposition who have gone full throttle on their campaign trail as they try to garner votes in the lead up to the fresh elections slated for July 2.
As part of their tricks to woo masses to their rallies, political parties like preceding their addresses during rally days with music performances. Rapper Tay Grin and local afro-pop artist Dan Lu are a regular feature during the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) engagements.
The other UTMCP block has the legendary Lucius Banda and the Nyemba Nyemba boys Symon and Kendall as part of their arsenal. On Sunday, at Likuni ground in Lilongwe, the scenario was more than a music show.
The ‘soldier’ from Balaka brought his music energy to the campaign trail with a fully-fledged music performance during a rally by the Alliance partners. Everyone seemed to enjoy the act and trust me in this moment the Covid-19 did not exist.
Meanwhile, that very Sunday afternoon, the Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) had summoned members of the press at Robin’s Park in Blantyre to offer their update on the current standoff the musicians and the authorities on their announced intention to resume live public performances.
In their address, they underlined a number of ways in which the music fraternity had been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. They decried how vulnerable the musicians had become and how their livelihoods had been disturbed.
They also grumbled how government has not displayed enough interest to consider musicians as part of the sectors that that have been hit the most therefore requiring a bit of a financial bailout. They said their efforts to engage the presidential taskforce on Covid-19 has yielded no results too.
As part of its way forward MUM said they have given government until the end of this week to address their concerns.
“But since we feel ignored, neglected and abandoned we have no choice but to help ourselves accordingly. Our only fear is that once this starts happening our office won’t be able to control the situation hence our appeal to government to address the situation properly,” read the statement in part.
Now the moment is here. Several musical acts have started promoting their musical live performances which are scheduled for this month end and early next month. Musician Ralph Kapanga will unveil his new album on May 29 in Balaka.
Local reggae giants Black Missionaries have also released their schedule which will see them hold three live public performances two in Blantyre and one in Mangochi early next month. The message is simple; enough is enough.
Last weekend, a number of entertainment joints and night clubs across the country which had temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 disease reopened their doors too. Fun lovers had a time of their lives dancing the night away in these places after missing the experience for a while.
With 71 cases (at least by the time this entry was made) and three Covid-19 related deaths recorded in the country so far, we can only fear the worst if this is the path we have decided to take as a people and as a country.
It will be interesting how law enforcers will attempt to keep the musicians away when they are failing to do the same with politicians who appear to enjoy unlimited freedom at the moment. As it is it appears the centre can no longer hold.