THE PANDEMIC SILENCES THE USUAL NEW YEAR STREET-SCREAMS!
Around Africa, New Year’s Eve is going to look very different this year, but the applause and cheers at midnight might have a level of emancipation not seen for a while. People will certainly be celebrating 2020’s passing even though there are Covid-19 restrictions.
Counting down the last moments of 2020 will lack the traditional New Year’s Eve festivities. Countries imposed strict curfews and restrictions on social gatherings will see most Africans welcoming 2021 from the comfort of their homes without having gatherings.
Yet the coronavirus menace that dominated the year is also impending over New Year’s celebrations and forcing executives worldwide to tone them down.
In Nigeria, tourists used to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Lagos’ affluent Victoria Island neighbourhood known for its expatriate community and an abundance of trendy clubs and 5-star hotels. However, this year restrictions have been made and this Monday the health sector imposed latest travel restrictions following the discovery of 501.V2, a mutation of Covid-19 which is more infectious than the novel virus.
In South Africa, people celebrate New Year mostly in Cape Town at the V and A Waterfront which is home to the biggest New Year’s Eve festivity comprehensive with a parade and a superb fireworks display. This year, many South Africans are planning to connect with friends and families through hosting their own virtual New Year’s Eve parties. To add on, South African music producer, DJ Tira, will be taking the ‘Fact Durban Rocks’ event online, following the ban on all huge public occasions. The party is scheduled to start at 21:00 on 31 December and end at 03:00 on 1 January 2021 and it will be live streamed by Channel O (DSTV channel 320).
In Zimbabwe, most people will celebrate New Year’s Eve indoors because of Cyclone Chalane which is expected to make landfall till the end of the week. Also, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, Zimbabwe national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the police will conduct patrols in areas where the public will be undertaking various social events such as parties, musical galas, concerts and even all-night prayers will not be allowed on New Year’s Eve.
Speaking to this publication, Tanaka Jani a Harare resident commended the initiative that will be conducted by the Zimbabwean police adding that teenagers especially the girl child need to be watched and protected during the new year’s eve because some will escape from home in search for parties that have been prohibited.
In African Muslim countries such as Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, New Year is a time of self-reflection for devout Muslims and many of the Muslims observe a period of fasting hence this year some will not attend clerical gatherings due to the pandemic.
The cancelation of public events might be crucial in preventing coronavirus disease, given that masses have recently ignored warnings against holiday travel and social gatherings but many mass get-togethers could make things even worse.
HAPPY NEW YEAR AFRICA!