The time and moment we dreaded is here. There is hardly any entertainment event on the cards. All thanks to the deadly pandemic, the coronavirus.
As espoused in my last entry, the global coronavirus also known as Covid-19 has choked operations of almost every sector as States attempt to effect various precautionary steps and measures to curb further spread.
So far, the effects of the disease have been devastating and no country is sitting on their laurels with further damage expected to be recorded. Malawi has not been left behind. Last Friday President Peter Mutharika announced the suspension of gatherings of over 100 people as one way of achieving a reasonable social distancing.
Even before that, the local art and entertainment world had already set in motion various steps to help in the prevention of the disease. A number of artists sadly announced the cancellation and postponement of their planned music events.
Artists such as Gwamba, Patience Namadingo and Faith Mussa cancelled their planned events. Performances by Filao Arts and many others have also been halted. Just this week there was communication from the management of one of Blantyre City’s popular entertainment clubs Blue Elephant that the joint will be closed from March 24 till April 7.
Though Malawi is yet to record its first case of Covid-19, at least by the time of putting together this entry, many players have chosen not to take a careless approach while trying to stay in line with government restrictions on social gatherings.
Such has been the negative effect the global coronavirus has had. It has stuck its teeth very deep in the human fresh such that so many economic activities have been heavily threatened. Most of the artists who have been forced to cancel their events had already invested but all efforts and resources have gone down the drain.
Now there is no chance for artists to promote their new releases save through promotional posters shared on their social media spaces. But music is engaging. It is an art which is two dimensional. One needs to lay down his case and also benefit from feedback from the audience before him.
But as the situation is now, the options are very limited and a total collapse of the system as the human race struggles to contain with one of its greatest health catastrophes in years. For a while, we watched events and developments about the disease from a far but right now we can feel it within. It is more real and engaging all precautionary measures is the only option we have.
On Tuesday Cameroonian jazz saxophonist Manu Dibango became one of the first art players to succumb to the disease. The 86-year-old died in Paris, France after catching the virus. Hollywood actor Idris Elba together with his wife Sabrina also contacted the virus. It shows nobody is immune to the disease regardless of their status in society.
On the local front we just pray that the restrictions as directed by the government will be adhered to so that Malawi is spared from the kind of devastation that has hit families, relationships and economies elsewhere.
It sounds like we are asking for much or not being real by praying and hoping that this epidemic spares us altogether. But let us all play our part even in the small cells, in our communities and everywhere. Every effort regardless of its magnitude will make a difference at the end of the day.
The sacrifice and selfless spirit shown by the local artists is quite commendable. They have put the health and well-being of their fans above their own ambitions. We hope every Malawian will take it upon oneself to play their part too.