Bangkok Post

Ugandan pop star Bobi Wine records song to beat coronaviru­s in Uganda


A Ugandan musician and political challenger to the country’s ageing leader released a song last week to help efforts to stem the spread of coronaviru­s in the East African nation.

In the song, 38-year-old Robert Kyagulanyi, who also goes by his stage name Bobi Wine, and fellow artist Nubian Li, croon to a tune laced with East Africa’s signature rhumba melodies about the importance of personal hygiene.

They also exhort people to regularly wash hands, keep a distance and look out for symptoms like fever and cough.

“The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim,” Kyagulanyi says in the lyrics.

“But the good news is that everyone is a potential solution.”

President Yoweri Museveni’s government has already taken a raft of measures, including sealing off borders, closing bars and banning public gatherings, to contain the outbreak.

Music has previously been instrument­al in tackling other outbreaks in Uganda.

Songs about HIV/Aids by another Ugandan crooner, Philly Bongoley Lutaaya, who would later die of the disease, helped spread awareness in the 1980s and 90s and bring down sky-high infection rates. Kyagulanyi, long dubbed the “Ghetto President” for his star power and songs highlighti­ng urban poverty, has been a headache to the ruling party since joining politics in 2017.

After declaring he wants to stand for president, he quickly emerged as a formidable opponent of Museveni, who has ruled since 1986 and is widely expected to stand for re-election.

Joel Ssenyonyi, Kyagulanyi’s spokesman, said the singer had distribute­d press releases on Covid-19 and handed out jerry cans and soap to drive up handwashin­g in communitie­s. “One other creative way of communicat­ing is through music,” Ssenyonyi said. “Most people love to listen to music, so what better way to put across a message than through music?”

In Senegal, activist hip-hop group Y’en a Marre has recorded a rap about washing hands, disposing of used tissues, and avoiding crowds in their latest release, Shield Against Coronaviru­s.

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