As the world still grapples with the effects of Covid-19, 11 artistes from 11 African countries have come together to show support and appreciation for the medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus battle around the world during this difficult time, through a song dubbed, ‘My White Army.”
The song, which is in different languages including French, English and Arabic, was released on June 1, and is a project by Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans, under the umbrella of her personal initiative, ‘Separated but Connected’, whose idea was to create an inspiring pan African song to appreciate doctors and nurses who are risking exposure to the virus so everyone else can stay home and stay healthy.
The song features artistes from both English, French and Arabic speaking countries. They include A Pass from Uganda, Cwesi from Ghana who wrote the lyrics, Kambua from Kenya, Mahmoud Al Leithy from Egypt, Nikki from Nigeria, Rozzy from Sierra Leone, Salatiel from Cameroon, Sean K from Namibia, Sunita from The Gambia, Tom Close from Rwanda and Wezi from Zambia.
Speaking of the new song, Rasha Kelej said: “I strongly believe it is important for the people on the front line; doctors, nurses and health workers know how grateful we are. I don’t want this to be a one-off thank you, but one that becomes a regular act of gratitude across our communities.
I have heard stories of horrible behaviour against our health workers, such as landlords forcefully evicting them due to paranoia that they might spread Covid-19. It is shocking, illegal and inhuman behaviour”.
“This song is my personal contribution to Covid-19 response. But at the professional level, through Merck Foundation, we have raced to respond to coronavirus in Africa in partnership with 18 First Ladies in four main focus areas which include; supporting the livelihood of thousands of casual workers and women during the lockdown,”
“It also includes launching the “Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards, launching an inspiring children storybook ‘Make the Right Choice’ to sensitize children & youth about coronavirus and building healthcare capacity through providing online one-year diploma for African doctors in Respiratory medicines and Acute Medicines,” she explained.
Tom Close, real name Thomas Muyombo, explained that all the artistes recorded the songs in their respective countries, sent raw data of the voices and made a small video at their convenience, and sent them to the producer and the director who put them together to come up with the final song.
As a doctor himself, he added that the song is also a motivation for him to do even more in saving people’s lives.
“I made my contribution in taking part of my time to go to the studio and partner with my fellow artists from across the continent to do a song that will last for a lifetime even after Covid-19,” he said.
Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans, who is also the director and producer of the ‘My White Army.” Courtesy photos.
Cwesi of Ghana.
Rozzy from Sierra Leone.
Sean K from Namibia.
Singer Kambua from Kenya.
Sunita from Gambia.
Salatiel from Cameroon.
Ugandan artiste A Pass.