Chagumuka on coronavirus experience

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BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI

ITALY-BASED musician Hendrix Chagumuka —son to the legendary Robbie “Mwachewe” Chagumuka — yesterday said people have been forced to reconfigure their lifestyles as authorities there battle to contain the virulent coronavirus outbreak that has hit the European country hard.

Chagumuka, who assured friends and relatives in Zimbabwe that he and his family were safe, said it has been “really tough” trying to re-arrange their lifestyles and ensure safety.Over 20 000 people in Italy have been infected and the death toll was at 1 141 as of Saturday, which recorded 250 deaths in just 24 hours.

“There were a lot of things that my wife has been doing, which I now have to do, while the children are now at home after schools have been shut down,” he said.

“It’s frightening. A lot of things have changed. We have had to change lifestyles. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. Italians have been hit hard because they have a vibrant social life and now spend a lot of time indoors.”

Chagumuka, who is currently in the studio working on a new single titled Muchandifunga, said the majority of people were now spending most of their time indoors with all businesses except supermarkets having closed.

“Initially, only schools were closed. There was chaos and people were panicking. No one really knew what was going on. But as the number of deaths continued to rise, coffee bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants have been shut down,” he said.

He said traditionally, Italians had their breakfast in coffee bars before going to work and that social rhythm has been disrupted.

“It became a law to restrict movements. You need government authorisation to move now and there are checkpoints where the police check your papers. My wife can’t do shopping anymore because I am the one with the authorisation and we are only allowed to go to the supermarket closest to us.”

Chagumuka said only four people were allowed to get into a supermarket at a time and they had to remain at least a metre apart.

“It’s so weird and strange. But I am sure if we stick to the regulations, there will be results,” he said.

The musician said for the first time in history, there was going to be no Catholic gathering for Easter in the predominantly Catholic country.

“All public places like parks are closed, so you can’t take kids there. Teachers are sending lessons on videos, links and homework via WhatsApp groups,” he said.

Chagumuka said musicians were doing campaigns to encourage people to stay indoors and an embargo has been placed on public shows.

“Artistes are now using social media for live shows targeted at their fans,” he said. “I’m in my studio right now putting final touches to my album, so I am thinking of doing a livestream for the launch.”

The yet-to-be-named album, from which the single Muchandifunga was culled, is likely to be out in June. It comes after Makorokoto (2018) and Gorekore (2019).