African artists take creative approach to fighting COVID-19 pandemic

Bobi Wine - #DontGoViral campaign
#DontGoViral campaign harnesses the vibrant cultural diversity of the African Continent and its innovators and content creators to ensure locally pertinent responses to fight disinformation and COVID-19

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Top artists from across Africa and throughout the African Diaspora have joined forces with UNESCO, to save lives and counter misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are creating public service announcements, songs and music videos as part of an online campaign called #DontGoViral which has already reached more than 90 million people in the past week alone.

The most recently uploaded content includes a remix of Bobi Wine’s Coronavirus Alert performed by the Ugandan activist and vocalist, Nubian Li.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay says that the success of the #DontGoViral campaign underlines the resilience and creativity of women and men on the African Continent to harness the power of cultural diversity to effectively combat the infodemic that is proving to be just as viral as the pandemic itself.

The campaign crowd sources creative content that addresses the urgent need for culturally relevant open sourced information about COVID-19 in African languages so that communities can learn how to avoid spreading the virus and related misinformation.

In one of the initiatives, UNESCO and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency partnered with the Raised Fists collective from Niger to mobilize awareness in that country. The collaboration resulted in a song called Protect Your Life, with lyrics in Djerma, Haoussa, Tamashek and French.

The song states in part that “We are at war against an invisible enemy/ For once, by keeping our distance we will be invincible/ I know you’ve always dreamed of being Superman/ But stay home, you’ll see it’s super, man.”

The music video for Protect Your Life was shot while in confinement. It was filmed in Rapper Danny Lee’s studio, and in the Niamey hospital to pay tribute to its staff who are working around the clock in the crisis. Several refugees also star in the video. Having fled conflict, these men and women now produce soap and bleach which are distributed to vulnerable communities.

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So far, #DontGoViral has received more than 500 submissions from more than 40 African countries. Millions are following the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. The videos have also received countless plays on YouTube or on radio stations around the world.

Contributing artists include; Fally Ipupa, Timi Dakolo, Wale Turner, Stonebwoy, Reekado Banks, Les Freres Smith and Seun Kuti, Didier Awadi, and Youssou N’Dour.