Reggae singer Jah9 says Coronavirus didn’t stop her trek in Africa.
While 2020 has brought about multiple forms of hardship, the coronavirus pandemic has been and remains one of the least favorite things about the tumultuous year. Governments worldwide have implemented strict protocols to stem the spread of the virus, and scientists are working at a steady pace to come up with a vaccine, which some people believe will eventually bring some sense of normalcy back to the world. However, according to reggae singer Jah9, the strict lockdowns and curfews which are the norm in western countries are not what the experience she has had in Tanzania, where she has been staying for the last six months.
“Lockdown caught me in Ethiopia, where we had the launch of Note to Self [2020 album] and we were supposed to travel to the UK next. But that was when this whole pandemic thing erupted, and one of my road managers said it was best to go to Tanzania,” she explained to The Gleaner. “I feel blessed to be here in a time like this. I haven’t experienced any mask wearing, lockdowns or curfews. There is regular nightlife and things are just pretty normal. I don’t want to seem insensitive, so I don’t go on social media much, but the truth is that I don’t know the feeling that you are all experiencing,” she expressed.
At the end of April, the African nation recorded 509 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths. However, by June, President John Magufuli declared the country free of the virus and even instructed tourists to resume their travel. According to the NY Times, Magufuli used the “power of prayer” to “purge the virus from the country.” Some critics have labeled the move as a coverup after videos of persons wearing protective gear while performing night burials surfaced online.
Jah9 gave her theory behind the low number of cases. “The president here isn’t interested in taking instructions from the West. Malaria is way more challenging than COVID-19. The drug that people here take for malaria, hydroxychloroquine, is also used to treat coronavirus. So the people who get the virus recover, or they probably have the drug in their system that it somehow prevents them from getting it.” Still, the yogi knows there is “so much politics and misinformation” surrounding the deadly virus.
Nonetheless, Tanzania has been a breath of fresh air for the singer who released her Note To Self album just before the virus crippled the world. “This is such an energetic space. Being on the continent changes your perspective. There is just so much land, so much space. I’ve slowed down so much and detoxed from the ways of the West. A 10-year goal in Jamaica is like a three-year goal here,” Jah9 mentioned while calling on persons to return to the motherland.