By Paidashe Mandivengerei
THE government has rejected a request by late Zimdancehall chanter, Soul Jah Love’s family to hold his memorial service amid fears of the spread of the deadly Indian Covid-19 variant.
On 14 May, the family of Soul Jah Love, born Soul Muzavazi Musaka, wrote to the government requesting a memorial service in his honour.
Soul Jah Love died aged 31 in February this year and was conferred liberation hero status before his burial at the Warren Hills Cemetery in Harare, which was attended by thousands of people mostly youths despite Covid-19 restrictions which bar mass gatherings.
However, in a letter dated 25 May, and addressed to the late musician’s older brother, Tendai Mike Brighton Musaka, Health Ministry secretary, Jasper Chimedza said the family could not proceed with the service because of the possibility that there will be a failure to comply with Covid-19 guidelines.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is in receipt of your letter dated 14 May 2021 seeking guidance to comply with Covid-19 regulations on the memorial service for the late Cde. Soul Muzavazi Musaka,” reads Chimedza’s letter.
“The ministry advises against holding of such big events at this juncture due to the following: 1. Taking note of the existing Covid-19 control guidelines that stipulate the number of such gatherings not to exceed 30.
“2. The presence of the new variant from India which is circulating in the country which can cause a huge spread. 3. The possibility of many people gathering in big numbers, making it difficult to institute Covid-19 control measures.”
The Covid-19 variant (B.1.617), predominantly found in India, was detected in Kwekwe early this month resulting in a localised two-week lockdown being imposed in the gold-mining city.
To date, Zimbabwe has recorded 38 944 Covid-19 confirmed cases, including 36 591 recoveries, 1 594 deaths, and 759 active cases.