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Ugandan star among those taking to the airwaves with a message on how to avoid spreading Covid-19

Bobi Wine, a Ugandan musician and rising political force, has joined the likes of footballer-turned-president George Weah in resorting to song to help stem the spread of coronavirus in Africa.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, worked with fellow artist Nubian Li to release a song on Wednesday laced with east Africas signature rhumba melodies about the importance of personal hygiene.

The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim, Wine sings. But the good news is that everyone is a potential solution.

The pair exhort people to regularly wash hands, keep a distance and look out for symptoms such as a fever and cough.

Uganda on Wednesday confirmed five more cases of Covid-19, bringing its tally to 14, four days after it recorded its first patient. President Yoweri Musevenis government has already taken a raft of measures including sealing off borders, closing bars, and banning public gatherings to contain the outbreak.

Liberian president Weah also released a six-minute song on Wednesday, called Lets Stand Together and Fight Coronavirus, in which he explains how the virus is spread and urges hand washing to a backing of harmonised female vocals and upbeat guitar music from a group called The Rabbis.

From Europe to America, from America to Africa, take precautions, and be safe, the former football icon sings.

Weahs spokesman Solo Kelgbeh said the president produced a similar song during the Ebola crisis, and that he started working on the new single before coronavirus even reached Liberia.

The song serves a practical purpose, Kelgbeh said. Liberia is a country where a majority of the people dont have access to internet and Facebook, but everyone listens to radio, he said. This song will be played on various radio stations in the country … to have the message spread sufficiently.

The country of 4.8 million people, which has banned travel to and from virus-hit countries, has recorded three coronavirus cases to date. As with other poverty-stricken states in the region, there are fears about Liberias capacity to respond to an outbreak.

The country was the worst affected by the 2014-16 West African Ebola outbreak, when more than 4,800 people died.

In Senegal, activist hip-hop group Yen a Marre have recorded a rap about washing hands, disposing of used tissues and avoiding crowds in their latest release, called Shield against Coronavirus.

Uganda has a history of using music to tackle other outbreaks.

Songs about HIV/Aids by another Ugandan crooner Philly Bongoley Lutaaya helped spread awareness in the 1980s and 90s and bring down sky-high infection rates. He later died of the disease.

Joel Ssenyonyi, Bobi Wines spokesman, told Reuters the singer had distributed press releases on Covid-19 and handed out jerry cans and soap to improve hand washing 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.

Reuters and AFP contributed to this report

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/26/sensitise-to-sanitise-bobi-wine-uses-song-to-fight-coronavirus-across-africa

The king of African pop and his pioneering band bring slick, infectious Senegalese rhythms to their sparkling late-night Prom

toile de Dakar rose from the vibrant late-70s nightclub scene of Senegals capital city, via seminal local outfit the Star Band. It was youthful frontman Youssou NDour who transformed them into Le Super toile; by the early 80s, this acts pioneering sound percussion-heavy mbalax with Latin influences and socially conscious Wolof-language lyrics was going global. Decades on, NDour is a prolific world-class superstar, spanning vast cultural and political realms.

There is something disarming about watching him bound on stage for tonights (aptly late-night) Proms set with Super toile; NDour seems part everyman, part supreme showman.

Super toiles 14-piece lineup pack out the stage (two keyboardists, four guitarists, sax/flute, masses of beats) and fire up assuredly big melodies. When NDour sings, the effect is both sweetly familiar and startling; his powerfully emotive tones echo his griot heritage, but they also seal his modern status as the king of African pop. He responds to a global mainstream while retaining grassroots cred, and the anthemic Immigrs (from his 1984 crossover album) is an immediate stand-out tonight. The set does feel studiously slick, including spotlight flourishes from long-time bandmate Assane Thiam (on talking drums) and acrobatic dancer Moussa Sonko. Yet NDour radiates infectious feelgood energy, and the audience slips joyously into the arm-waving, singalong spirit.

Theres a rousing rendition of trilingual 1994 megahit (originally with Neneh Cherry) 7 Seconds, and snappy material from his 2016 album Africa Rekk. The set-list could certainly have dug much deeper into Super toiles rich history, but even the encore cover of Bob Marleys Redemption Song is a chance for NDours world-shaking pop prowess to sparkle.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/sep/02/prom-65a-youssou-ndour-le-super-etoile-de-dakar-review-african-pop

New president remains in Senegal after ex-leader Yahya Jammeh guaranteed right to return home

The Gambia awaits the arrival of its new leader and an era of democracy, hours after the authoritarian ruler of 22 years flew into exile.

Adama Barrow has remained in neighbouring Senegal as a whirlwind political crisis sparked by his December election win came to a close on Saturday after former leader Yahya Jammeh was guaranteed the right to come home.

A joint declaration by the United Nations, African Union and West African regional bloc Ecowas, issued shortly after Jammehs departure, said the bodies would work with Barrows government to make sure Jammeh, his family and his close associates were not the target of punishment.

The unpredictable Jammeh, known for startling declarations such as his claim that bananas and herbal rubs could cure Aids, departed late on Saturday with a wave. He was last seen flying toward Equatorial Guinea, which is not a state party to the international criminal court.

Jammehs dramatic about-face on his election loss to Barrow, at first conceding and then challenging the vote, appeared to be the final straw for the international community, which had been alarmed by his moves in recent years to declare an Islamic republic, leave the Commonwealth and leave the ICC.

With global backing, Barrow was sworn in on Thursday at the Gambias embassy in Senegal for his safety, hours after Jammehs mandate expired at midnight. Meanwhile, Jammeh was abandoned by his defence chief and many cabinet members.

A regional military force that had been poised to oust Jammeh if last-minute diplomatic efforts failed entered the Gambia shortly after his departure and was securing the country and its capital, Banjul, ahead of Barrows arrival.

President Barrow would like to leave [Senegal] as soon as possible. One cant leave the country open, Marcel Alain de Souza, chairman of the regional bloc, told reporters. But part of the Gambias security forces needed to be immobilised, he said, and he confirmed that Jammeh had mercenaries by his side during the standoff.

De Souza also revealed details of the negotiations before Jammehs departure. In response to his insistence on a sort of amnesty for him and his entourage, the West African regional body attempted to have the Gambias national assembly vote on an amnesty law. Sadly, we couldnt reach a quorum. The deputies had fled, De Souza said. Most were in their villages. The others were in Dakar [Senegals capital].

Jammeh wanted to stay in his home village in the Gambia, but regional heads of state preferred that for the moment he left the country, De Souza said.

With Jammeh gone, a country that had waited in silence during the standoff sprang back to life. Shops and restaurants opened, music played and people danced in the streets.

Some of the 45,000 people who had fled the tiny country during the crisis began to return. The nation of 1.9 million, which promotes itself to overseas tourists as the smiling coast of Africa, has been a major source of refugees heading north towards Europe.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/22/the-gambia-adama-barrow-yahya-jammeh-senegal

(CNN)The most westerly point of Africa is surprisingly undiscovered by English-speaking tourists.

And that’s a shame for the tourists, who are missing out on vibrant and welcoming Senegal, where rich traditions and natural beauty combine to great effect.
French travelers have been enjoying Senegal’s sandy beaches and textured landscapes since the 1970s.
    While basic French will come in handy, there are English-speaking guides in most places.
    The country is seen as a model for democracy and stability in the region, and with its peaceful and hospitable culture, it’s an ideal choice for a first-time visitor to Africa.
    Here are eight great reasons to visit.

    Beautiful beaches

    There's

    Tranquillity

    Just south of the Petite Cote, a journey into Sine Saloum’s labyrinth of mangrove creeks and lost-in-time fishing villages offers a stress-banishing taste of the simple life.
    One of the best places to feel the region’s calm is Mar Lodj, a small, car-free island in the Saloum delta where the electricity cuts at 11 p.m. to expose an unfettered explosion of stars.
    These winding creeks are home to an abundance of flora and fauna, protected by 76,000 hectares of national park and UNESCO world heritage status.
    Wooden canoe trips glide past flamingos, pelicans and oystercatchers, while the Isle de Oiseaux is home to the largest breeding colony of royal terns in the world.
    Hotels can arrange day trips into the delta, starting from about $40 per boat.
    Tranquility seekers will love the remoteness of Hakuna Matata, a laid back camp overlooking a glorious stretch of river.
    This is an angler’s paradise — just seconds after casting off, hungry carp and grouper tug the line.
    French host Olivier Guerin helms the camp, plying his guests with fresh seafood at his convivial table d’hote.
    “We’ve sort of fallen in love with the place,” said Daphne, a Belgian expat traveling with her husband and son from Dakar. “We can’t stop coming back.”

    A vibrant capital

    In stark contrast to Saloum, bustling Dakar shakes your senses with a warm, salty blast of humidity as soon as you get off the plane.
    Dakar is home to the trendy and traditional, Senegal’s old and new. It’s a fascinating city for dancing, bargain-hunting and authentic culture.
    In the relaxed neighborhood of Mamelles, La Calebasse is a good spot to sample traditional African cuisine on an elegant covered rooftop.
    For a buzzier (and smokier) vibe, Le Viking hosts a nightly live band that plays a mix of local “mbalax” dance music, Western rock and reggae.
    Shoppers at the HLM market can find technicolor prints from $1.50 a meter, and tailored outfits are sewn up in hours.
    Meanwhile the historic Marche Kermel is a literal and visual feast — the circular wrought-iron building is a kaleidoscope of okra, tamarind and fish.

    Easy-to-reach islands

    Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Dakar, the quiet, picturesque streets of Ile de Gore hide its horrific past — it was the last glimpse of Africa for thousands forced from the region as slaves.
    Still standing, the 18th century prison’s “door of no return” bears witness to this chilling chapter of history.
    Then there’s the jagged, uninhabited Isles de la Madeleine national park, which can be reached with a $9 boat ride from Dakar’s southwestern bay.
    It’s a find, says Senegalese artist Mamadou Wane. “Not one percent of the population has been there.
    “It has crazy beautiful beaches, with rocky cliffs and clear water. Many people here have no idea how beautiful their own country is.”

    Warm hospitality

    A deep source of pride for its people and a treat for visitors, Senegal’s “teranga,” or hospitality, is part of its identity.
    Friendly locals are quick to invite visitors for Senegalese tea — a strong infusion of green tea leaves with mint and sugar brewed over glowing coals.
    In an elaborate ritual known as “attaya,” the tea is always brewed in three rounds; the first strong and bitter, the second weaker and the third, very sugary.
    There are all sorts of different folkloric explanations as to why, with one musician explaining, “The first is bitter like death, the second is soft like love and the third is sweet like friendship.”
    Many locals will double as guides within markets or cities, sharing priceless insider knowledge.
    While offered freely, a tip is expected, and as with all prices, bartering is the norm.

    A colonial capital

    Dripping in history and charm, Saint-Louis was the colonial capital of the whole of French West Africa until Dakar usurped it in 1902, largely thanks to its superior port and growing peanut trade.
    Easily explored on foot, the city’s bougainvillea-laced streets offer the perfect antidote to Dakar in size, pace and atmosphere.
    A stay at the nostalgic Hotel de la Poste evokes the glamorous story of Aeropostale, the French aviation company that pioneered first air-mail, and then in the 1920s, some of the first long-haul passenger flights to Africa and South America.
    Guests can stay in the (modernized) room of legendary pilot Jean Mermoz, a hero in the city.
    A 20-minute drive and boat ride to the Langue de Barbarie peninsula is rewarded with a sandy beach shared only with some rapidly retreating crabs.
    En route, local women can be seen sifting white salt mounds from tidal ponds, deftly balancing baskets on their heads.

    Amazing sound

    Whether it’s the rattling rhythms of mbalax, gentle kora or deep djembe, there’s live music to be found every night in and beyond Senegal’s capital.
    Renowned Senegalese musician Baaba Maal hosts a world music festival in December, while Saint-Louis welcomes five days of jazz artists in May.
    Just4U is one of the best-known venues for stumbling across top African artists in Dakar, and on Saturdays night-owls should try Thiossane (Rue 10, Dakar), the club of home-grown superstar Youssou N’Dour.

    Fish, fish and fish

    Senegal is a treat for seafood lovers — fish is the country’s staple and most menus are peppered with oysters, prawns and squid.
    The national dish, thieboudienne, marries freshly grilled fish with spicy tomato rice, cassava and carrots.
    It’s served up at Dakar’s Chez Loutcha, a favorite for locals.
    At Mbour, it’s well worth heading to the docks at 5 p.m. to spot the arrival of the fishing boats — dozens of ornately painted vessels bringing in the daily catch.
    As fishing is one of the country’s major industries, hundreds of Senegalese gather to play their part in the riot of color, sounds and of course, smells, central to the whole operation.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/26/travel/senegal-travel-parts-unknown/index.html