Global Pandemic in a Year
WHO COVID-19 Live updates webpage. Photo by: Jessie Glander
March 11, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of The World Health Organization deeming COVID-19 a global pandemic. The John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center stated that over 2 million people have died due to the virus to date and globally there are over a hundred thousand confirmed cases. One year into the global pandemic and each country is returning to a semblance of normalcy at different rates and comfort levels.
New Zealand, Hong Kong and many other locations around the world have gotten control of the virus, ultimately stopping the spread in the process according to WHO. While some countries have followed global safety procedures to slow and stop the spread, others have struggled to keep cases low. In recent months, on country in particular has had a spike in cases, Zimbabwe.
Owen Chari, Zimbabwean Artist and political activist living in New Jersey, said that he had a positive case of COVID-19 in January and fought the virus using homemade medicine and holistic practices. Chari said he used a special handmade blend of leaf’s, spices and roots to fight his fever.
Owen Chari attending a Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020. Photo Courtesy of: Owen Chari
“Well, um, last year I got covid but I recovered from it. I didn’t go to hospital, you know, I was scared. Many people say if you go to hospital you die. I just did our traditional detoxing and then I recovered,” Chari explained, “Honestly, I’m not really scared of it and I don’t think I can get that and it can kill me. We use detoxing, you know, like traditionally. We boil some roots, some leaf’s, put in the boil water, cover yourself with a blanket, you steam yourself.”
Chari said that Zimbabwe and the United States seemed to be handling COVID-19 in similar ways. He said they are forgetting about the people and only caring for the rich political powers. Chari stated that it wasn’t until the political leaders began getting sick for the nations to take the pandemic seriously.
While Chari spoke of COVID-19’s implications on politics and the citizens of the country, Plot Mhako, Arts Journalist and founder of JIBILIKA, explained the effects COVID has had on the art community. He said that his family and himself are faring through the pandemic like everyone else but, there was a strain on his work during the early stages of the pandemic.
Mhako, from Zimbabwe originally, now lives in Dortmund, Germany with his wife and child. Mhako is deeply involved in the music and arts industry in Zimbabwe, having co-founded many projects and artistic gatherings in Zimbabwe.
“Creatives are not sleeping despite the pandemic they are creating and the new talent is hungry and putting in the work,” Mhako said.
The arts industry suffered greatly due to the COVID-19 shutdowns but, Mhako did not let that stop him from continuing his work within the industry. He hosts Zoom meetings with Zimbabwean artists and other international artists to discuss their work.
Both Chari and Mhako compared the effects of the global pandemic in their own home country to its effects in the United States. COVID-19 has drastically changed the lives of everyone around the world and after one year of living in the pandemic people like Chari and Mhako are trying to adjust and move forward in hopes of a brighter tomorrow.