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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 06: Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize visits Clairwood Hospital ahead of the expected peak in the Province on August 06, 2020 in Durban, South Africa.

South Africa Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Plan

The South African Department of Health has announced that it aims to vaccinate over a third of the population against COVID-19.

South African Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, has announced that the country aims to secure COVID-19 vaccines by end of February 2021. This follows after a newly discovered COVID-19 strain caused an unprecedented rise in infections in December of last year. According to EWN, Mkhize revealed that government is in the middle of negotiations with international pharmaceutical companies. Mkhize described the vaccine rollout strategy will target four group populations that the health ministry has determined a priority, this according to Business Insider SA.


Read: 43 World Health Organisation Experts to Land in South Africa as Coronavirus Infection Rates Peak

Healthcare workers will reportedly be the first group to receive the vaccine, followed by high risk groups specifically those who are HIV-positive or people over the age of 60. People that are in confined areas with large congregations such as prisons and hospice. Additionally, tourism sector employees and educational workers will be prioritised. The last group are those that qualify as essential workers including the police, miners, banking sector personnel and essential municipal employees.

In a TimesLIVE report, Mkhize stated that in a midst of a global rush for a COVID-19 vaccine, cost, access, ease of use and storage, are admittedly determining factors. This has reportedly resulted in bilateral negotiations with potential vaccines suppliers including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Cipla. Mkhize revealed that some countries had allegedly stocked vaccines for over five times the requirement for their population. The actions of these first-world countries mean that South Africa will then struggle to obtain COVID-19 vaccines within the nation's desired time frame. The health minister did not hold back in calling out the "well off" countries.

According to EWN, the health ministry has entered into the COVAX vaccine distribution in an initiative led by the World Health Organisation but this will only cover 10 percent of the South African population. Mkhize stated that there are talks underway with political partners from BRICS, specifically Russia and China. Mkhize also reportedly stated that the aim is to vaccinate 67 percent of South Africa's population by the end of the year.

South Africa currently sits on over one million COVID-19 cases and 29 000 deaths. The country went back to a level-three lock down mid-December following a rise in infection.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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