AFRO-JAZZ musician Dereck Mpofu yesterday said it was an honour to work on an international COVID-19 theme song titled Apart/Together — We Stand Strong Against COVID-19 that was commissioned by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (ICAP) in United States as part of its rapid response to the global pandemic.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

The coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic after it continued to claim millions of lives across the globe.

On the seven-minute song blending English, Shona and Ndebele lyrics, Mpofu, who is the Environment, Water Conservation and Zero Littering goodwill ambassador combined his voice with renowned poet-cum-singer Albert Nyathi alongside other artistes.

The production of the song, accompanied by a video “slideshow” that supports ICAP activities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic was sponsored by Chinese business mogul Bing Zhao.

Mpofu said they were honoured to be part of the project, adding that they were given as much room to Africanise it as much as possible.

“It is always an honour working with the great Albert Nyathi and learning at the feet of the icon while doing a great cause. It is always an honour spreading awareness in the most unique way while providing people with entertainment at such a difficult time,” he said on his Facebook page.
Nyathi shared the same sentiments, saying it was an honour to join hands with others in COVID-19 awareness campaigns.

“This song celebrates the power of the community to overcome a disease that is pushing us apart while also serving to inform listeners of the steps they can take to protect themselves and their community from COVID-19,” he said.

“I hope this song empowers people to feel hopeful of their role in surmounting this crisis. It is my pride to continue to work with this gifted young musician, Dereck Mpofu, with our teamwork allowing us to make a difference once again. It is our honour to save humanity. I hope this song empowers people to feel hopeful and take the actions they need to take so we can all surmount this crisis.”

In a statement, ICAP’s founder and director Wafaa El-Sadr, who requested Nyathi to create the song, said: “We are so moved and inspired by this magnificent song. Albert’s and Dereck’s gorgeous artistry is all the more wonderful for its role as a tool for public health. We cannot imagine a more profound use of music than this.”

This is not the first time Mpofu and Nyathi have combined their voices on an ICAP project. They have done a number of programmes in the service of public health. When ICAP launched its population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey in Zimbabwe in 2016, the duo recorded the song Knock Knock, which encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to welcome field workers to their homes during the ZIMPHIA survey.

Established in 2003, ICAP’s overarching goal according to El-Sadr is to improve the health of families and communities. Together with its partners — ministries of health, large multilaterals, healthcare providers, and patients — ICAP strives for a world where health is available to all.

To date, ICAP has addressed major public health challenges and the needs of local health systems through 6 000 sites across more than 30 countries.

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