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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

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(CNN)Ugandan rapper Keko is no stranger to overcoming challenges.

At the height of her success in 2014 she was struggling with drink and drug abuse.
    Two years later, after overcoming her own difficulties, she is working hard to stop young Ugandan’s from falling into the same trap through her organization “Sober Up So High.”
    “We are hoping to get as much help for the young people out there as possible,” Keko told CNN. “The future is always brighter, you always fall but you have to keep your head up and you can always rise up again”

    …What you heard about me….

    A photo posted by kekotown (@kekotown) on

    “It’s a non profit organization that is focusing on creating awareness about drug awareness and prevention,” adds co-founder Shadrack Kutesa.
    “Basically we use our testimonies, we use the arts to put out messages.”
    In addition to her commitment to the organization Keko is still passionate about her music, her country and her continent.
    “Thirty years from now I see myself being a CEO of a recording company,” she says. “I still feel like Africa is a very young market music wise, so I think the future is still very bright.”

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    Uganda is a conservative country. But after dark, all the animals come out and everyones drunk

    At first I felt guilty when I went to this party in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. I thought I should have been out taking photographs somewhere interesting instead. But when I saw the number of people there and how wild the party was, I felt good. It was a big, ornate house with a swimming pool and a beautiful garden. Everyone was having a good time, drinking and dancing to great music. I started to have a good time.

    At the end of the night, I was walking around and saw a guy passed out in a plastic chair. Behind him, there was a dog and a couple sitting down flirting, having just come out of the pool. I turned up the power of the flash and focused on the people at the back. Why, I wondered, are they still active while he has passed out? Maybe theyd taken drugs and he hadnt. Maybe hed taken too many.

    It was a few months before I developed the film. When I looked at the image, I noticed other elements: the bottle of Bond 7, a common, cheap Ugandan whisky; and, more importantly, the three helmets by the sleeping man. These are typically used by foreigners who live in Kampala and travel on boda bodas, a type of motorbike taxi. Most Ugandans do not use helmets, so helmets suggest foreigners.

    I grew up in Parma, Italy. I did several different jobs, from computer programming to factory work and being a postman. At 20, I was cutting pallets for eight hours a day. I realised photography would be a great excuse to go somewhere and meet people. Eventually, I met and studied with Magnums Alex Majoli. He didnt teach me about photography, but about attitude, obsession and determination. He told me to look for an experience, not for a photograph. So I started to follow my feelings.

    This photograph came at a time of crisis between me and photography. I was living in east Africa, working as a photojournalist. Id covered some important events and my work was getting published. But I could not see myself in the pictures. So I started to think about the thing that made the biggest impression on me when I first came to Kampala: the nightlife. I started to document my adventures after dark. I became nocturnal, living completely at night.

    Uganda is so alive, so full of contradictions. Its a conservative, religious society and theres a lack of political freedom. But at night, everything changes. All the animals come out. You go to a party, you talk to street-walkers, good-time girls, vagabonds, village fools, rastas, pimps, expats, underpaid guards, overworked bouncers, old-timers, orphans, beggars, hoodlums, hustlers, grasshopper vendors, all kinds of cops, NGO workers and back-alley exorcists. And everyones drunk. This was the final image I took of that night. Then I left.

    Fuck It by Michele Sibiloni is published by Edition Patrick Frey.

    Michele Sibiloni

    Michele Sibilonis CV

    Born: Parma, Italy, 1981.

    Studied: Self-taught by assisting on commercial shoots.

    Influences: Robert Frank, Jim Goldberg, Ed van der Elsken.

    High point: Learning to follow my instinct.

    Low point: Dealing with my lack of patience.

    Top tip: Dont wait for anyone. Do it for yourself.

    • This article was amended on 16 June to clarify Micheles work pre-photography, and to remove a misattributed quote.

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