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Covid-19: Arts sector in dilemma

By Style Reporter

With numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases and recorded deaths slowly ticking up, concerns are rising over the possible effect the global pandemic will have on local arts events.

Zimbabwe has not recorded any positive case so far, but there has been a rise of new cases closer to home including in South Africa, the DRC and Kenya that have ignited worry locally.

According to reports in a local daily, Health minister Obadiah Moyo told the Senate on Tuesday that government was mooting the prohibition of huge gatherings.

“The issue of stadia is the one which I talked about, especially soccer. I came from Tanzania today [Tuesday] and in that meeting it was said that we do not want large gatherings… ” said Moyo.

“We understand that our [national football] team will be playing Algeria. That is where we have a problem. They will go there and meet other people. We understand there are people who are sick in some parts of the country and they will meet these people. We have to quickly see what we can do on that issue.

They must not go.”

While his reference mainly cited football matches, there is anxiety that they may be need soon to cancel various arts events as well as has been done in parts of Asia, Europe and the US.

However, Kayse Connect, organisers of Nigeria’s Burna Boy concert set for next month, appeared unfazed when Standard Style sought comment on Friday.

“We are following what is happening and are very cautious but considering where we are right now where there has not been a cases in the country, we are continuing with our preparations,” Kayse representative Elton Kurima said.

This not the first time that a disease has disturbed activity in the creative sector after a 2018 cholera outbreak in Harare saw some promoters cancel international gigs including that of songbird Ammara Brown who had invited Nigeria’s Mr Eazi then.

Multi-award winning musician Jah Prayzah is also scheduled to launch his much-anticipated 10th album on April 3 and his manager Keen Mushapaidze said he was optimistic it would go ahead.

“We are keeping our ears to the ground. Fortunately, the virus has not reached Zimbabwe yet. We only have suspected cases,” said Mushapaidze.

“…In Italy, they have banned all large crowd gatherings including football matches.

“So the situation as it is does not call for postponement. We are going ahead with the album launch”.

But, with the rapid rise in cases on the continent and the subsequent ban of events, it remains to be seen to what extent local artistes will be affected.

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