As the terrifying prospects of a lockdown turned into reality, one of Africa’s largest reputation management consultancies, Magna Carta turned to animation to educate people on the symptoms and remind them to practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The animated short video is a collaborative effort with its offices on the continent and was translated into some South African and African languages.
There are now more than 4900 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the continent with a third of the cases in South Africa. Given the continent’s under resourced health services, the pandemic if not arrested and reversed is likely to leave a trail of destruction, both on the economy and public health.
93 deaths have been reported in South Africa so far.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a strict 21-day lockdown in an attempt to avoid a “catastrophe of huge proportions”.
Countries all over the continent have been quick to act in reaction to the spread of Covid-19. Common steps have included education around washing hands, curtailing non-essential travel, suspending large-scale gatherings, social distancing and remote working amongst other measures.
“When the outbreak was limited to China, everyone was disconnected. But now that it is here, there is an overflow of information however most of it is in English. Africa is a continent with high linguistic diversity, and we wanted to make the lifesaving information more accessible in a language of choice,” says Moliehi Molekoa, Managing Director, Magna Carta.
“A creative approach was warranted. It is difficult to hold the attention of an adult when you are trying to communicate basics around washing hands in a language they may or may not understand. Similarly access to technology has meant that children also hear about the pandemic leading them to worry about themselves, their family, pets and friends getting ill.”
The animated short video which is ideal to share on social media platforms will be translated into 20 African languages commonly spoken on the continent. Magna Carta will also make it available to anyone on the continent even outside its network to translate and add a language of choice for further distribution to the communities.
“Affording it a wider platform will enable other communities to contribute to it creatively,” adds Molekoa.
“We take our role as story tellers seriously. Any piece of communication especially during an outbreak must be honest, accurate and direct and be able to deliver the message in a way and in a language, which minimises anxiety and fear.”