Fighting Covid-19 through music.
I wanted to play a part. Our Youth Power is needed to fight the pandemic, and we must rise and use it.Vinnex
Vincent Tinashe Chimonyo aka Vinnex, 24, is a dance-hall musician, community mobiliser and former peer-educator volunteer with Restless Development. His new awareness song on COVID-19 is taking Zimbabwe radio by storm, dominating airplay.
When you have an important message for Zimbabwe urban youth or young people in general, there is no better way of delivering it, than through music.Vinnex
Being an urban youth himself, young Vinnex, as he is popularly known on Zimbabwe’s entertainment scene, certainly understands his peers perfectly well.
His COVID-19 awareness song released a few weeks ago is laced in a powerful danceable musical tune and catchy hooks that effortlessly grab one’s attention while delivering life-saving informative lyrics with tips on how to avoid catching the virus.
Call it hitting two birds with one stone; it is almost impossible for one to listen to the song which features his musical buddy, “Tremor King” without either dancing or nodding to the beat while not missing the message-laden lyrics.
And that is exactly what we wanted to achieve; entertain fellow Zimbabweans who are locked down in their homes while reminding them of the key message from health experts, on how to avoid catching the virus, I believe the song achieves its objective.Vinnex
“I worked with Vinnex when he volunteered as a peer-educator with Restless Development Zimbabwe; he was always passionate and hands-on and I am proud seeing him dedicate his music talent to serve the public good; now that is Youth Power,” says Primrose Manyalo; Global Networks Manager at Restless Development.
In a recent interview with Zimbabwe local radio, Vinnex urged fellow artists to raise their voices in musical art to deliver life-saving messages to Zimbabweans in a bid to keep them safe from COVID-19 virus.
As of May 17, 2020, Zimbabwe had 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4 deaths and 18 recoveries.
The country has remained in nation-wide lockdown since March 30, with Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the nationwide lockdown meant to control the spread of coronavirus, though the restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks. He said the country needs to ease out of the lockdown ‘in a strategic and gradual manner’.
Restoring normalcy, Vinnex says, all hands must be on the deck and believes he has done his part, with the release of his awareness song dubbed “Gezai Mawoko” loosely translated to mean “wash & keep your hands clean.”
What inspired the song?
“I created the song in line with the Covid-19 health messaging guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF in my country. I believed it would make it easier for young people to understand that Covid-19 is real, hearing it from their peer and in a musical genre, they all love. But most of all, I wanted to play a part. Our Youth Power is needed to fight the pandemic, and we must rise and use it.”
How has COVID19 has impacted young people in Zimbabwe?
“Every young person in Zimbabwe has so far experienced the impact of COVID-19. It has affected our way of living due to the nation-wide lockdown, most of the youths are no longer going to work or to school, our livelihoods have been affected, our mental health has been affected, and although we still do not have very high numbers of infection, our way of life has been largely affected.”
What do you want to see the government and other stakeholders doing?
I think the government and development partners should encourage everyone with a platform and ability to influence behaviour change, to take part in the fight against COVID-19. They should especially support artists because they play an important role in spreading the information and have an influence on their respective fans. I also wish to see the Zimbabwean government supporting citizens with food and other basic needs to make life easy for those who have lost jobs because of the pandemic.
What’s your message to fellow young people?
I encourage all young people across the world to stay safe and keep clean, soon the storm will be over. I also pray that this virus does not take more lives, especially lives of young people.