Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the Princess of Africa, sings a song by Miriam Makeba, Mama Africa, under a fig tree in the village of Dukem Kotecha, an hour’s drive along unmade roads outside Debre Zeit. South African music isn’t huge in Ethiopia. But everyone seemed to know the words, or at least the tune.
It all happened last week during a huge government-run, UN/NGO-supported distribution of malaria nets in the region. (The blue thing that the man is holding in the background is an insecticide-treated net.) Malaria transmission season is coming on quickly – it normally peaks in October/November and can kill 100,000 in a matter of months during an epidemic.
In case you are wondering how this all fits together, Yvonne Chaka Chaka is UNICEF’s regional spokesperson on malaria.