Moments from Covid-19 Hope for Africa Concert

By Vanessa Obioha

In a pre-Covid-19 era, a music concert would have caused a frenzy. Headliners of the concerts would have been ostensibly displayed on flashy billboards on the streets of Lagos. Twitter would have been having a debate on which artiste would make the event memorable. Depending on the venue, a likely discussion on the artistes or celebrities that would attend the event would hold.

But in a coronavirus era where social gatherings pose a threat to one’s health, music concerts can only be enjoyed from the sofa of your living room.  Virtual events have gradually become the order of the day. While it lacks the emotional and physical elements of a physical concert, it however gives fans and lovers of music a hope to celebrate despite the devastation caused by the strange coronavirus.

The message of hope was succinctly captured in the Covid-19 Hope for Africa Concert held on May 31. A collaborative initiative by leading video entertainment and media company, MultiChoice and One Africa Global Foundation,  the over three-hour long concert paraded music stars in the continent. From Ethiopia to Congo, to Tanzania to South Africa and Nigeria, the artistes entertained with their performances.

Hosted by Nigerian actresses and media personalities Osas Ighodaro and Dakore Egbuson-Akande; Kenyan radio host Wanjira Longauer; and Ghanaian actor Mawuli Gavor, the concert was scripted to accommodate performances, messages from front liners as well as testimonials from survivors of Covid-19.

The concert began on a sombre note with Efya playing a melancholic tune on her guitar titled ‘Fracture’. Her performance was followed by Shadaya from Zambia. By the time Betty G from Ethiopia performed, the tone of the concert picked up tempo. The All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) nominee delighted fans with her bubbly shoulder dance. However, it was the Congolese artiste BM that brought the groove. Accompanied by a dancer who was socially distanced from him, he entertained with his dance moves as he sang his infectious 2018 hit ‘Rosalina (Break Your Back)’. There were also performances from Liberian artiste Scientific and Ghanaian duo Keche.

Of the Nigerian artistes who performed at the virtual concert, 2Baba and Ladipoe stole the moment. 2Baba freestyled his ‘One Love’ hit, lyrically singing about the pandemic and how Africa can defeat it.

Ladipoe on the other hand gave a beautiful rendition of ‘Voices’, a 2018 track from his album T.A.P. (Talk About Poe). Featuring Efya, the artiste who goes by the moniker ‘Leader of the Revival’  performed the rap song with such raw emotions that it was difficult to keep the voices away.

Alternate Sound brought their A-game to the concert with a slew of music to keep viewers on their feet. Though Davido and Tiwa Savage featured in the concert, however they only gave goodwill messages while clips of their performances previous editions of One Africa Music  Fest were played.

The Covid-19 Hope for Africa concert served as an avenue to raise funds to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  Proceeds from the concert will be used in acquiring testing equipment, personal protection equipment (PPE), providing support for the front liners in Africa, and spreading these resources across all 54 countries in Africa.

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