As of Sunday, May 24 confirmed the COVID-19 total cases from 55 African countries has reached 107,747 with reported deaths reaching 3,257 and recoveries 42,924.
The numbers are compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University using statistics from the World Health Organization and other international institutions as well national and regional public health departments.
South Africa has the most reported cases — 21,342, with deaths numbering 407.
Other most-affected countries include Egypt (16,513 cases), Morocco (7,406), Algeria (8,113), Ghana (6,617) and Nigeria (7,526).
Meanwhile, an Ubuntu Love Challenge has been initiated to use the power of a digital platform to bring together people from all over the world to share, inspire, and empower each other.
It has been initiated by African thought leader, Mamadou Kwidjim Touré together with youth and women’s empowerment advocate from the United Arab Emirates, Her Highness Sheikha Bodour.
Both are also successful entrepreneurs — Toure is founder of Ubuntu Tribe and Africa 2.0 while Sheikha Bodour launched Kalimat Publishing Group in 2007.
With the Ubuntu Love Challenge, they seek to provide a collective response to the current global crisis.
Touré said the whole idea was to create a global movement that would address some of the current challenges implied by COVID-19, which has led to a greatest sense of hopelessness but also a general atmophere of fear.
“Now the fear is becoming more contagious than the virus itself,” he said. “We believe it is essential, in these distress times, to call upon what makes us ultimately humans.
The key word that would have come to mind in my case is Ubuntu. Ubuntu means ‘I am because we are’. We share a common destiny and common intrinsic values.
“We can respond, in this time of distress, to the global challenge by calling upon our humanity, our solidarity, showing acts of kindness and compassion and admitting also our interdependence.
“And if you take the case of Africa as an example, it is that very ‘Ubuntu’ that made the continent over the decades and centuries, despite the challenges that we have gone through, to still remain resilient and to work as communities.
As for Sheika Bodour, said she fell in love with the word Ubuntu when she first heard it and feels that it connects people to their roots.
“We all come from Africa. That is really our mother and our roots. In times like this, it is really important for us to go back to our heritage, our ancestors, to find truth.
“The concept has so much truth and it resonates so well in this day and age — that is what I feel about Ubuntu.
“Our initiative has taken off so well here in the Middle East and globally and high profile personalities have already taken the challenge like actor Tyrese Gibson, singer Maxwell and entrepreneur Chris Gardner and other artists, thought leaders and business owners.
“And they are all contributing to the challenge in their own way. That is something we are all advocating for — that you could be from any background and take the Ubuntu Love Challenge and you could do whatever you can to make this world a better place even if it is just a smile, even if it is helping your neighbor with groceries.
“No act is too small for the Ubuntu Love Challenge,” said Bodour, who added that the challenge was launched on April 14 through a website where peopke can find all the information about it.
“There is also information about how this started with a genesis video and also about the leadership and thinking behind it. We have activated many ambassadors around the world from Asia to America, Africa and Europe.
“We aggregated all this in our social media platforms — Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram at #UbuntuChallenge.
Touré added that in just a few weeks they have had more than 20 influencers and celebrities.
“The main challenge that you face in general is how do we go beyond the crisis. It starts in our heads and in our hearts. I generally refer to this concept of ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, he’ll eat forever.’
“It’s important to give people hope so they can stand up and rise to the occasion despite the challenge and find solutions for themselves, find the strength within, remember what makes them human and recover their intrinsic power.
“If we make love more viral than the virus itself, then we have a chance to build a better tomorrow. When you look at the statistics, any person that would be contaminated by the virus would affect an average of 11 people.
“So by challenging an average of 12 people to make an act of kindness, you have a chance to grow faster and to ultimately overcome this crisis.
“We all know that it is not going to stop here. There are going to be more waves but what is also powerful is that we invite people to write songs, poems because we all know deep inside how much art and creativity can be the ultimate solution to deal with a problem you haven’t been taught to deal with.”
Touré said the beauty today is that the world is digital and the barriers are in terms of distance, in terms of time and in terms of support — giving a unique opportunity for level playing field.
“My parents are immigrants in Europe. I went to school in Paris and returned to Africa. I wonder how many Mamadou Tourés would have the opportunity to get on a plane and go to one of these Ivy League schools.
“Not many. But today, with the digital world, we can be at home and receive free teaching from somebody who wants to teach. You can be at home with a disease and with telemedicine, a doctor somewhere in the world may want to take time to help you.
“We are in an interconnected world. We are taken back to the very essence of Ubuntu. So share what you do.
“There could be somebody out there that might be doing the balance or complement what you are doing and so together you can do something that is bigger than both of you,” he said.