Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
Artistes have said they are ready for the vaccination against Covid-19 which started in all the provinces this week and is being done in phases.
Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care was the first Zimbabwean to be vaccinated when the vaccination programme was launched on Thursday last week.
Frontline workers who include health workers, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) personnel, Customs and Immigration employees and those in the security sector are the ones being vaccinated under the first phase of the programme.
Artistes who spoke to Chronicle Showbiz this week said they are ready to be vaccinated as they believe this is the only way in which they can start work.
“I’m ready for the vaccination, that’s the way to go as we need to get back to work. The arts industry has been adversely affected by the lockdown hence the urgent need to contain this pandemic.
Former beauty queen, Samantha Tshuma, who runs Open Eye Studio, a modelling agency, said the arts and culture industry was the worst affected by the pandemic and therefore want the situation to return to normal as soon as possible.
Musician Madlela Skhobokhobo also welcomed the vaccination programme and called on the Government to speed up the process.
“If the vaccination has been tested and found to be safe, there is no reason why we should be left out as artistes. I was impressed that the Vice-President was the first citizen to take the vaccine. This gave me confidence that this is the way to go,” said Skhobokhobo.
He said there was a need for Government to constantly review the situation with a view to open the arts spaces so that artistes can start to earn some income to fend for their families.
“We’re going hungry by the day as arts spaces have been closed for almost a year. We’re struggling to feed our families and we hope this vaccination will assist contain the pandemic so that the situation returns to normal,” said Skhobokhobo.
DJ Liz said she cannot wait to get vaccinated as she is tired of being locked down.
“It’s a good thing (getting vaccinated) as we’re really tired of Covid-19. We’re now living in fear and worried about our kids, who, unfortunately, aren’t getting vaccinated. I feel like they are more at risk though and need this vaccination more,” she said.
Arts practitioner, Nkululeko Nkala said the industry’s hope was that the vaccination will assist in containing the pandemic leading to the reopening of the arts sector.
“To be honest, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere but what is important is to contain it and as such people must be vaccinated. I’m urging everyone to be vaccinated and as artistes we would have loved to be among the first to be vaccinated but we’ll have to wait,” said Nkala.
Musician, Mzoe 7 who recently won a Zimbabwe Music Award, said he appreciates Government’s efforts of securing the vaccine that will perhaps bring relief to the arts sector.
“The world is facing a pandemic and everything has been brought to a halt. The new normal is not normal, people are depressed as most lives have been disrupted and we’re all wishing to win this fight against Covid-19,” he said.
Mzoe said a number of people have lost their loved ones to the pandemic and economic activities have been disrupted.
He commended frontline workers who include health workers for doing their best to fight the pandemic despite exposing themselves to high risk of contracting the virus.
Zimbabwe has received 200 000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by the Chinese government. An additional 600 000 doses are set to arrive in the country early next month.
Bulawayo launched its vaccination programme at United Bulawayo Hospitals and is targeting to inoculate 6 600 frontline workers after receiving 13 200 doses.