Ethiopian Musicians, Politicians Record Charity Song to Raise Awareness of HIV/AIDS, Reduce Stigma
November 22, 2004
Some of Ethiopia's leading musicians and politicians on Thursday recorded a charity song to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma associated with the disease, IRIN/Reuters AlertNet reports. The idea for the song, which is titled "Find a Solution," came from the country's National Coalition for Women Against HIV/AIDS. The song is sung in Amharic, Ethiopia's national language, and calls on the country to "mobilize and battle" against HIV/AIDS, IRIN/Reuters AlertNet rpeorts (IRIN/Reuters AlertNet, 11/18). The recording followed a talk on HIV/AIDS by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to the SAPA/AFP/Independent Online. Deputy Information Minister Netsannet Asfaw said, "It is in our culture to sing at weddings and funerals," adding, "We thought, if there is a culture of song, why not use it to fight AIDS? And if the highest body in the country has to teach the country about AIDS, then we should sing about it to relay the message" (SAPA/AFP/Independent Online, 11/19). The Ethiopian musicians were motivated by the success of the musical project Band Aid, which in 1984 recorded a charity song to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, according to IRIN/Reuters AlertNet (IRIN/Reuters AlertNet, 11/18). Abdu Kiar, one of Ethiopia's top hip-hop musicians, said, "If we have anything like [Live Aid's and Band Aid's] success, we will be happy," adding, "They are an inspiration, but we Ethiopians must also show what we can do" (Mitchell, Associated Press, 11/18). According to the Ethiopian Health Ministry, about 2.4 million HIV-positive people live in the country, although some international experts estimate that the number is closer to three million people, the SAPA/AFP/Independent Online reports. The song also is scheduled to be recorded in English and released to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 (SAPA/AFP/Independent Online, 11/19).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.