The outbreak of COVID-19 has put the existence of Namibia’s living museums in jeopardy as they struggle to stay-afloat with no income coming in from international tourists.
Just like all country’s in the world, Namibia’s tourism sector has been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 with zero international tourists since March.
This has affected the country’s living museums which get about 96 percent of income from international tourists.
Elizabeth Yalezo has been part of the Mafwe Living Museum in the northern Zambezi region for the past 10 years teaching tourists about the local silozi culture.
She made a commitment to uproot her family and live at the museum doing what she loves but the outbreak of COVID-19 is threatening her livelihood.
“We have had no income for the past four months, we are hungry,” Yalezo said.
Previously when Namibia’s tourism industry was booming, the museum would sometimes make over a 100,000 Namibian dollars (about 5,682 U.S. dollars) a month, which would be shared among the 45 members.
“We used to make a lot of money but once it is shared between all the members it is not a lot. Unfortunately we have not been able to build up reserves in previous years. we have all been surviving from hand to mouth, thus we are starving at the moment,” she said.
The Namibian government gave aid of 750 Namibian dollars to Namibians who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 but unfortunately this was not applicable to communal projects.
The situation has been made worse because even though local tours were allowed after the countrywide lockdown, the Namibian economy is so weakened that there are hardly any people travelling.
“If we were at least getting local visitors it would have been better but there are no visitors coming. We really need assistance,” Yalezo said.
The living museums in Namibia are exceptional traditional projects where visitors can learn about the cultures of the different tribes in the country.
The museums were established with the aim of preserving the country’s traditional culture while also fighting poverty in rural areas through income generated from the museums.
At the living museums, tourists get a chance to experience interactive learning of different Namibian cultures where they live at the museums for a couple of days seeing how the tribes live their lives.
According to a representative from Namibia Living Culture Foundation Sebastian Durrschmidt, the living museums have done very well for surrounding communities in terms of income generation and exposure.
He said, the museums are the only employers in the six villages where they were developed and the loss of income also means a subsequent collapse of all income for the remaining village communities.
“Over 2,000 lives are at risk of losing income and their livelihoods. The living museums are at the brink of collapsing if tourism does not start soon,” Durrschmidt added.
Statistics from the Living Culture Foundation show that during 2017 and 2018 when Namibia’s tourism was at its peak, all six living museums were visited by about 30,000 tourists.
“A high number of visitors means a good income for the communal living museums. The income will not only provide food security but also school fees. Some invest in livestock and vegetable gardens,” Durrschmidt said.
Rimunatavi Tjipurua, a manager at the Ovahimba Living Museum, said life at the communal museum had become unbearable and sad.
Namibia this month opened its borders to international tourists but with the surge in cases where the country recorded over 1, 000 positive cases in just two weeks, the tourism sector is doubtful that tourism will pick up anytime soon.
The country has far recorded 2,802 COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths.
South Africa’s COVID-19 death toll crossed the 10,000 mark, with 10,210 cumulative deaths recorded, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday.
Of the total deaths, 301 were recorded in the past 24 hours, Mkhize said in his daily update.
Meanwhile, the country has reported a cumulative total of 553,188 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 7,712 cases reported since Friday, the minister said.
Gauteng Province, the country’s economic hub, remains as the epicenter with 190,999 cases, followed by the Western Cape with 99,588 cases, KwaZulu-Natal with 95,648 cases and the Eastern Cape with 82,074 cases.
The number of recoveries currently stands at 404,568, a recovery rate of 73 percent, according to Mkhize.
The total number of tests conducted to date is 3,220,265 with 36,607 new tests conducted since Friday, he said.
South Africa has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among African countries, which has surpassed half of the cases recorded in the African continent.
Across the world, South Africa ranks the fifth in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases, after the United States, Brazil, India and Russia.
The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Saturday revealed that the number of COVID-19 cases across the African continent surged to 1,022,084.
The Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union (AU) Commission, in its latest situation update issued on Saturday, said that the number of deaths related to COVID-19 rose from 22,066 on Friday to 22,461 on Saturday.
The continental disease control and prevention agency also said the number of people who recovered from their COVID-19 infections passed the 700,000 mark.
According to Africa CDC data, some 705,016 COVID-19 patients have recovered across the continent as of Saturday, an increase of 14,580 recoveries from Friday figures.
South Africa is Africa’s highest affected country in terms of positive cases, followed by Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Morocco, it was noted.
The Southern Africa region is the most affected area in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Northern Africa and Western Africa regions, the Africa CDC said.
Egypt confirmed on Saturday 167 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total infections in the country to 95,314, said the Health Ministry.
It is the seventh consecutive day for the daily COVID-19 infections in Egypt to fall below 200. The daily count started to exceed 200 on April 23 before hitting a record 1,774 on June 19.
Meanwhile, 21 patients died from the coronavirus on Saturday, taking the death toll in Egypt to 4,992, while 1,119 more patients left hospitals, bringing the total recoveries to 51,672, the ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.
Egypt decided last week to ban the entry into the country without a negative PCR test for COVID-19, except for tourists arriving on direct flights at the airports of Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam.
The most populous Arab country announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 and the first death from the highly infectious virus on March 8.
From the first week of July, the daily coronavirus infections and fatalities in Egypt started to gradually decline along with an increase in daily recoveries.
Egypt resumed international flights in early July, after it lifted a partial curfew imposed since late March, and reopened restaurants, cafes, theaters and cinemas, as well as hotels, museums and archeological sites, all with limited capacity.
Easing restrictions is part of a coexistence plan adopted by the government to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.
Egypt and China have been working together on fighting the pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise.
In early February, Egypt provided aid to China to help with its fight against COVID-19 and China later sent three batches of medical aid to the North African country, the latest of which was in mid-May.
Uganda on Saturday reopened the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) for tourists as the East African country eases the COVID-19 lockdown restriction measures.
UWEC said in a statement that the conservation center, located about 40 kilometers south of the capital, Kampala, opened to tourists with strict adherence to standard operating procedures put in place to avoid the spread of novel coronavirus.
The measures include mandatory wearing of face masks, temperature screenings of tourists, social distancing and hand sanitizing.
“After being shuttered for five months, we are once again welcoming guests with strict adherence to the standard operating procedures that were launched by the ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities on Friday afternoon,” said the statement.
The development comes barely two months after the country reopened its national parks for tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the parks and education center are now opened, Uganda’s borders and Entebbe International Airport remain closed as part of the government measures to avoid importing COVID-19 cases.
Tourism is one of Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earners, with the country set to lose about 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in tourism revenue because of COVID-19, according to the ministry of tourism.
Uganda, as of Aug. 7, has registered 1,267 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 1,115 recoveries and six deaths since the index case was reported on March 21, according to the ministry of health.
Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany together with African First Ladies of Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Guinea Conakry, Burundi, Central African Republic (C.A.R.), Chad, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Gambia, Liberia and Congo Brazzaville, announced the call for applications for their ‘Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards for African countries. The theme of the awards is ‘Raising Awareness on how to Stay Safe and keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during Coronavirus Lockdown’.
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explains, “This unsettling period due to the coronavirus scare is difficult for everyone – both physically and mentally. While most countries are under complete lockdown or restricted movement, people do not know how to handle this situation. Social Distancing is our Social Responsibility and the only way to kill Coronavirus, however, it will take a lot of courage and discipline to practice it. Taking good care of your mental and physical health is important during this period. So, we decided to initiate these awards in order to reward the journalists who are raising awareness in most effective and creative way on how to keep safe and keep physically & mentally healthy during this phase”.
All the journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from English speaking, French speaking, Arabic speaking and Portuguese speaking African countries are invited to send their entries for the awards. The most creative and influential media work aiming to raise awareness and sensitizing communities about this alarming topic at a regular basis will be eligible to win these awards.
“We have created four categories for Africa; English, French, Portuguese and Arabic speaking countries”, Dr Kelej added.
Merck Foundation will extend the awards to include Middle Eastern, Latin American and Asian Countries in the next few days to involve all media across the global South.
“Since most of the people are confined to their homes, they are spending a lot of time reading and listening to news through different platforms. Media professionals, it is your time to help the people to take care good care of their mental & physical health during these disturbing times, through your creative, informational and motivational work. You can guide them to adjust to their new and different routine & rhythm of life”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.
Details of the Merck Foundation “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards
Who can Apply:
Journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from English speaking, French speaking, Arabic speaking and Portuguese speaking African countries
Last date of submission:
Entries can be submitted till 30th June 2020
How to apply?
Entries can be submitted via Email to email@example.com along with your details (including Name, Gender, Country, Media house, Email address & Mobile Number) and entry as an attachment
Categories and Prize Money:
|Prize Money(Upto)||USD 500||USD 500||USD 500||USD 500|
By Jerry Omondi
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon governments to “rethink and reshape the urban world” to ensure they are better prepared for any future crises.
Guteres said the inequalities and shortcomings that exist in many urban regions globally have helped fuel the spread of COVID-19.
“And now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities”, he said in his recorded message launching the latest UN policy brief, “COVID-19 in an urban world”.
The UN chief highlighted deeply rooted inequalities in the poorest areas, citing strained health systems, inadequate water and other challenges that cities are facing in common, with 90 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases concentrated in urban areas.
His message comes as the world’s number of COVID-19 infections have surpassed 16.5 million with a death toll exceeding 654,000.
“We must prioritize those who are the most vulnerable in our cities, including guaranteeing safe shelter for all and emergency housing to those without homes,” said Guterres.
He called upon governments to put more focus on informal settlements in efforts to strengthen their preparedness for any future health crises.
The International Monetary Fund on Monday announced the approval of $4.3 billion in emergency support to South Africa to help it address the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa is Africa’s most industrialised country but has been severely affected socially and economically by the pandemic. With more than 445,000 confirmed cases, South Africa is the worst affected country in Africa accounting for more than half of the continent’s cases.
According to the South African government, the funding is a “low interest loan that contributes to government’s fiscal relief package.”
“The country has been hard hit by the pandemic, and this required government to come up with fiscal and monetary measures that would respond to the struggling economy and contain its negative effects to society,” a statement from South Africa’s National Treasury said.
The government added that the funds will go towards supporting health and frontline services, protecting the most vulnerable, driving job creation, unlocking economic growth through reforms and stabilising public debt.
“It will also pave the way for government to provide the necessary financial relief required to forge a new economy and mitigate further harm to the economy.”
A statement from the IMF said that the funding will fill the urgent Balance of Payment (BOP) need arising from the fiscal pressures posed by the pandemic. It adds that it will limit regional spillovers and catalyze additional financing from other international financial institutions.
“It will complement the authorities’ strong policy response to the crisis and their planned post-COVID-19 fiscal consolidation and reforms to promote growth that benefits all South Africans,” the IMF said.
According to a report by ratings agency S&P Global Ratings, South Africa’s economy is expected to contract by nearly 7 percent.
South Africa was quick to respond to the pandemic imposing some of the strictest measures globally including a two-month lockdown. However, the government subsequently came under heavy public pressure to relax the very same measures due to the economic hardships resulting from their implementation.
The government was forced to take drastic measures in an attempt to cushion the economy from the effects of the pandemic. In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa a 500 billion rand ($28.86 billion) relief package equivalent to 10 percent of the nation’s GDP to bolster the economy.
South Africa is one of many the countries that instituted gradual re-opening of their economies to allow citizens to try and make ends meet and ward off the prospect of long-term damage to their economies.
By Jerry Omondi
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has tested negative for COVID-19 after developing a sore throat, one of the symptoms of the disease.
The 75-year-old made the announcement after his official nomination as the ruling party National Resistance Movement presidential flag bearer in the 2021 polls.
“I got a sore throat and rough voice. My first call was corona-19 (COVID-19). So I called the doctors early Sunday. They took the sample and by evening they came back and said no corona (virus),” said Museveni.
The president also took the opportunity to warn Ugandans against taking health protocols for granted, saying it risked causing a spike in deaths.
The East African country has reported 1,135 infections and two deaths, according to data from the ministry of health.
989 people have successfully recovered from the disease.
Uganda is scheduled to hold its general elections in February 2021, and Museveni will be seeking to extend his rule beyond 35 years.