Melissa Mpofu, Showbiz Editor
Artistes have refused to let coronavirus put them down and out of business as they have come up with an exciting initiative to keep people entertained while also educating them on the deadly pandemic that has killed over 11 000 so far.
The outbreak — whose first two cases in Zimbabwe were recorded over the weekend — has left the world in a state of forced self-isolation and limited social gatherings to try and contain the disease. As such, most people are now spending most of their time indoors and artistes from across the globe have decided to provide entertainment by hosting live shows online.
Among these shows is the Quarantine Online Party that was hosted by South Africa’s DJ Shimza at his studio on Saturday. The party featured performances from Scorpion Kings’ DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, DJ Zinhle, Black Motion, Shimza himself, Darque City and DJ PH.
The six-hour show which kicked off at 6PM was clearly a welcome development for many as they were treated to free quality performances from South Africa’s heavyweights. Also, they got to sample latest tunes.
Throughout the show, people were advised to stay at home and sanitise regularly. Leading from the front, all DJs, as they took to the decks, cleaned their hands with hand sanitiser. DJ Zinhle did not take chances as she requested that the microphone be sanitised before being handed over to her. She also sanitised her headphones, showing how conscious she was about the virus.
It was a refreshing show as it felt as if one was at a club/actual concert as the DJs were quite lively, performing as if there was an audience in the studio.
As they watched, some reminisced about the Big Brother Africa days where people would be glued to their TV screens on weekends and party with the housemates during their weekend parties. To actively participate, people would also have their drinks at home, something which most said they did during the Quarantine party.
Commenting on the initiative, DJ Shimza said it was introduced to keep the arts sector alive while also educating people on Coronavirus.
“The online show is meant to keep the arts industry alive by making sure we give people entertainment, but also educating them about this deadly coronavirus and showing them that this is a very serious matter.”
He said the online party which is being used as edutainment, will not be once off, especially considering that public gatherings in SA and Zimbabwe have been suspended for the coming 60 days, meaning no clubbing and partying for most.
The Quarantine party was certainly effective as it was viewed by over 300 000 people during its live stream on Shimza’s Facebook page alone. All participating DJs streamed the event live.
Commenting after her performance, DJ Zinhle said it is important for people to practise self-isolation during this time in order to limit the chances of being infected.
“People, being quarantined is a safety precaution we all need to take. We need to follow instructions and stay at home. The sooner we can contain this thing the better.
“It’s frustrating and crazy I know, but maybe, this is also time for us to be home, reflect and just spend time with family,” said DJ Zinhle.
Those who were part of the party said for a moment, they forgot about the stresses associated with the coronavirus. Some said they enjoyed the event because for the first time, they attended a free party without having to dress up, in fact without bathing even as they were in the comfort of their homes.
From the Quarantine party, the alert ones joined American DJ D Nice’s party that was themed Club Quarantine. While the SA party was more of a house/Amapiano affair with a bit of Naija music, D Nice played smooth grooves, hip hop hits and RnB classics for six hours live on his Instagram page. The likes of musician Kelly Rowland, Monifah, Deborah Cox, comedian Ed Lover, Miguel and Anthony Hamilton were among those watching.
Kelly Rowland said the online parties were great in that they are uniting people.
“Thank you D Nice for bringing so many people together. What a great party it was!”
DJ D Nice said the social distancing party was a way to stay connected with fans.
“I can’t believe that I started the Home School social distancing dance party just four days ago and it’s become a place for us to virtually dance together and stay connected. From my kitchen, I’m able to send positive vibrations to each of you. Thank you for rocking with me.”
The timing for the American party was perfect as it started at midnight when the SA party had ended.
In a nutshell, the online parties are a good way for artistes to promote themselves as a lot of people, world over, are currently indoors with little entertainment.
Local artistes have fortunately taken advantage of the online events with Jah Prayzah set to launch his album titled Hokoyo live on his Facebook fan page next Tuesday from 9PM. Guitarist, Nyasha Bothwell also interacted with fans live through a musical show he conducted on Facebook.
A #WeWrite short story competition has also been introduced online for primary and secondary school students to keep them occupied.
And for those who are not music fanatics. They may keep themselves busy by watching Wadiwa Wepa Moyo, a local production which features Ben Mahaka and Lee McHoney on YouTube.