…how a bug brought the world to its knees.
Ambassador Anthony Mukwita wrote from Berlin:
26 January 2021.
I have watched a number of documentaries and dramatizations of real events over time but there is none I have watched that has been as captivating in content and play as Death to 2020 in recent times.
A Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones mockumentary, Death to 2020 running on Netflix now is a fantastic satirical depiction of the rather sad year 2020 was but still makes you laugh.
Featuring Hollywood heavy-hitters such as Samuel L. Jackson, Leslie Jones and Hugh Grant who do not let you down in their final delivery, Death to 2020 as a recollection of rather gloomy events of the year is most cathartic in my view.
You must watch this masterpiece when you have time under this new normal covid lockdown, for the laughs and education.
It starts with the raging fires in Australia scorching the earth and changing the carbon texture down-under to the glaciers melting in the Antarctica, President Donald Trump killing the Rockstar of the Middle east military General Soleimani, just create a distraction from his woes back home in the USA and almost sparking a 3rd world war to COVID 19, its amazing.
Eventually Trump loses elections to Joseph R Biden Jr as Boris Johnson and Trump both catch the bug they had long ignored.
Anyhow, as I watch this critically acclaimed mockumentary under lockdown (mockumentary means a television programme or film which takes the form of a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject) it hits me that not only Zambia got the wrong end of the stick of the bug that crippled the globe after it escaped Wuhan.
Many more suffered and many more died like Bob Marley sung in a Natural Mystic flowing in the air.
2020 was still happening when 2021 said hello according to the flick because in the United States alone almost half a million people died needlessly from the bug while business shut down resulting into more than 40 million job losses, which is more than twice the population of Zambia.
2020 will be remembered as the year that dealt a terrible blow to the hospitality and travel industry as it grounded airplanes and docked ships at bay as travelling became a ´super spreading´ fiasco.
People were scared to gather in one place, shake hands or share pleasantries such us birthdays, weddings and as funerals became taboo.
Hardnosed political leaders tried to dismiss the bug as a fart that would soon smell away, but it dug in its deadly feet in and claimed if not one, but two or three, sometimes four members of your family members or friends at once, just to show that it was real.
In Zambia my President H.E Edgar Lungu rose to the bar and banned social gathering despite the economic knock this would result into and said, “better stay alive and healthy than die trying to hustle a living.”
For a leader of a developing country, he (President Lungu) won kudos for taking bold steps to reduce the spread hence the reason by January 2021, at its worst, Zambia recorded only about 600 deaths. Our Central Bank even positively started buying Gold.
Compared to developed countries of the West such as Germany that was mourning about 50, 000 people and Britain at a staggering 97,300 people at a press time while the global total stood at about 2,1 million on 24th January and rising, Zambia was not that bad albeit any life lost is deeply regretted.
Take the more 400, 000 deaths in the USA for instance and crunch the numbers believed to have largely cost Trump his job and make him a ´on term POTUS´.
Where do we go from here?
Whenever disaster strikes, people search for answers either from God or deep in their hearts to deal with the disasters in case they recur.
This is where I come in to say now as a citizen of the globe at large but first and foremost, a citizen, published author and diplomat of Zambia and ask, how do we prepare for the next bug?
Do we have enough Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines in hospitals countrywide, a second-hand PCR according to experts costs about US$1000 only but save hundreds of lives.
Do we have enough ventilators and oxygen to get around and oh, do we have enough motivated frontline workers? are they equipped to respond to a plague like the one we are grappling with in future?
We have a great country, a great resilient President (EL) who says ´a stitch in time saves nine´ so we must use this pandemic to mend any gaping health holes but also discover the silver lining to the dark covid cloud. We must monetise covid.
Berlin alone where am at, has almost 1500 intensive care beds; how many do we have in my beautiful country Zambia? Introspection time.
Rwanda which is coming out of the worst genocide in recent African history is making masks for export and I am pretty sure we could do the same from the Zambian private sector.
We must stop the issue of “Boma iyanganepo” and create our personal development agenda at times like this like China right now is making more money out of the pandemic than any other nation state on the globe
Statistics show that China is the only country whose economy grew in 2020 in the face of the bug. What can Zambia do, what can you do individually?
Every time I am invited to speak at an Economic Diplomacy event I say, Zambia is a great country with firm diplomatic credentials under President Edgar Lungu, ample arable land, politically stable and 365 days of sunshine, but how do we monetise this?
Death to 2020, it is, and I must know because I lost my mother Elizabeth Mukwita on 19th December 2020 , she would have turned a spry 77 years on 10th January 2021 mhsrip had she not breathed her last in the fateful year so I know 2020 like a heart attack. I will never feel her or smell her sweet breath ever again.
We can rise, however, like the Phoenix from the ashes of the bug and make Zambia an Agric or energy hub of the continent as we say, ‘Goodbye 2020’ and ‘hello 2021.’
Zambia is ours to build if we play a positive role. Stop fighting, start loving.
Zambia is the greatest gift God gave to a country in Africa.
The author is a published author and Ambassador of Zambia to the Federal Republic of Germany. This personal missive was inspired by Death to 2020 currently running on Netflix 2021.
Copyright: Amb. Anthony L. Mukwita January 2021.