by Anna Adima

Home for Corona: An Afropean View of COVID-19

As an ‘Afropean’, I see COVID-19 has brought social inequalities to the forefront; I am reminded again of the privileges and disadvantages I experience in my homes.
Uganda, Eastern Africa

Story by Anna Adima. Edited by Melaina Dyck
Published on July 4, 2020. Reading time: 4 minutes

This story is also available in fr it nl



My homes are both East Africa and Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic caught me in Uganda, where I am weathering a strict lockdown from the safety of my family’s home. As an ‘Afropean’, I see stark parallels in social inequality on both continents. Now, COVID-19 has brought those inequalities to the forefront and I am reminded again of the privileges and disadvantages I experience in my homes.  

I debate the severity of COVID in both regions with friends and family from Europe and Africa. Initially, even though the situation in Europe worsened and Uganda was under a strict lockdown with few cases, friends in Germany worried about me remaining in Uganda, citing WHO’s predictions of COVID-19 ravaging Africa.[1] Ironically, I worried about my friends in Europe, as cases rose and governments failed to take action. In March, my friends across East Africa agreed that we were much better off than people in Europe. Now, in June, the numbers tell a similar story: Uganda has far fewer cases than Europe (as of June 19th, 755 confirmed cases, with 492 recoveries, and no deaths[2]) while the UK faces an immense death toll.[3]  The harsh lockdown measures largely have ensured safety from the virus; however, they have been economically devastating for many. Responses on both continents make one fact abundantly clear: Neither strict lockdowns nor voluntary social distancing measures have changed the trajectory of who will suffer most.

The origins of COVID-19 in both Europe and Africa initially made it seem to be a disease of the wealthy: Europe’s ‘ground zero’ was Ishgl ski resort in Austria.[4] In Africa, the virus was introduced by foreign tourists and Africans who can afford to travel abroad. Perversely, now the working classes of both continents are paying the price. Poor neighbourhoods in London and Kampala tell parallel stories: widespread job loss, inability to afford basic needs, and high death rates.[5] Communities who face disproportionate policing and institutional punishment have seen increased violence in the name of social distancing — from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in London, to underprivileged people being shot for violating lockdown rules in Kenya and Uganda.[6]

The pandemic is a strange crisis: the havoc it wreaks impacts everyone, while each person experiences it differently. The patterns of devastation across Europe and Africa are similar: the haves spread the disease and weather the economic slowdown, while the have-nots face more destitution and illness. As a national of two countries, I have had to make my own difficult decisions. In March, while people worldwide rushed to be home with their families, I debated whether to remain in Uganda or return to my other home in Germany. In this unprecedented global crisis, none of my homes are necessarily safe. It is also personally very worrying to observe the high infection rates among Black communities in the UK, where I am doing my PhD.[7] In the end I decided to remain in Uganda, which I know now was the right decision. The difficulty of the past couple of months was, for me, only mitigated by being with my family. Last month, for the first time in seven years, I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mother in person. Such moments of joy get me through the worst days.


Footnotes 

[1] BBC (2020) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52323375

[2] Ministry of Health Uganda (2020) https://www.health.go.ug/

[3] Campbell, Perraudin, Davis and Weaver (2020) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/05/uk-coronavirus-death-toll-rises-above-32000-to-highest-in-europe

[4] BBC (2020) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52007104

[5] Austrian and Abuya (2020) https://theconversation.com/we-wanted-to-know-how-coronavirus-affects-nairobis-slum-residents-what-we-found-137621; Mohdin, A. (2020) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/may/01/covid-19-coronavirus-newham-london-uk-worst-affected-area

[6] Dodd, V. (2020) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jun/03/met-police-twice-as-likely-to-fine-black-people-over-lockdown-breaches-research; Moore, D. (2020) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/fury-kenya-police-brutality-coronavirus-curfew-200402125719150.html; Hayden, S. (2020) https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/28/i-realised-my-body-was-burning-police-brutality-in-uganda-lockdown

[7] BBC (2020) https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52219070


How does this story make you feel?

Follow us on Social Media

Talk about this Story

Please enable cookies to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Stay up to date with new stories on Correspondents of the World by subscribing to our monthly newsletter:

* indicates required

Anna Adima

Anna Adima

Of German-Ugandan heritage, Anna is a PhD student at the University of York in the UK, where she is researching East African History. She is particularly interested in women’s history, heritage preservation, and issues surrounding race and feminism. With stints in Mwanza, The Hague, Toulouse, London, and Nairobi – in between returning to her ‘passport countries’ – Anna is privileged to have called different places around the world home. When she is not covered in dust looking at old documents in historical archives, Anna enjoys drinking coffee, swimming, and can often be found curled up in her favourite spot on the couch reading a book. She tweets @anna_adima.

Topic: Coronavirus




Get involved

At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.

Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.

Share Your Story

Community Worldwide

Correspondents of the World is not just this website, but also a great community of people from all over the world. While face-to-face meetings are difficult at the moment, our Facebook Community Group is THE place to be to meet other people invested in Correspondents of the World. We are currently running a series of online-tea talks to get to know each other better.

Join Our Community

EXPLORE TOPIC Coronavirus

Global Issues Through Local Eyes

We are Correspondents of the World, an online platform where people from all over the world share their personal stories in relation to global development. We try to collect stories from people of all ages and genders, people with different social and religious backgrounds and people with all kinds of political opinions in order to get a fuller picture of what is going on behind the big news.

Our Correspondents

At Correspondents of the World we invite everyone to share their own story. This means we don't have professional writers or skilled interviewers. We believe that this approach offers a whole new perspective on topics we normally only read about in the news - if at all.

Share Your Story

Our Editors

We acknowledge that the stories we collect will necessarily be biased. But so is news. Believing in the power of the narrative, our growing team of awesome editors helps correspondents to make sure that their story is strictly about their personal experience - and let that speak for itself.

Become an Editor

Vision

At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.

Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.

View Our Full Vision & Mission Statement

Topics

We believe in quality over quantity. To give ourselves a focus, we started out to collect personal stories that relate to our correspondents' experiences with six different global topics. However, these topics were selected to increase the likelihood that the stories of different correspondents will cover the same issues and therefore illuminate these issues from different perspectives - and not to exclude any stories. If you have a personal story relating to a global issue that's not covered by our topics, please still reach out to us! We definitely have some blind spots and are happy to revise our focus and introduce new topics at any point in time. 

Environment

Discussions about the environment often center on grim, impersonal figures. Among the numbers and warnings, it is easy to forget that all of these statistics actually also affect us - in very different ways. We believe that in order to understand the immensity of environmental topics and global climate change, we need the personal stories of our correspondents.

Gender and Sexuality

Gender is the assumption of a "normal". Unmet expectations of what is normal are a world-wide cause for violence. We hope that the stories of our correspondents will help us to better understand the effects of global developments related to gender and sexuality, and to reveal outdated concepts that have been reinforced for centuries.

Migration

Our correspondents write about migration because it is a deeply personal topic that is often dehumanized. People quickly become foreigners, refugees - a "they". But: we have always been migrating, and we always will. For millions of different reasons. By sharing personal stories about migration, we hope to re-humanize this global topic.

Liberation

We want to support the demand for justice by spotlighting the personal stories of people who seek liberation in all its different forms. Our correspondents share their individual experiences in creating equality. We hope that for some this will be an encouragement to continue their own struggle against inequality and oppression - and for some an encouragement to get involved.

Education

Education is the newest addition to our themes. We believe that education, not only formal but also informal, is one of the core aspects of just and equal society as well as social change. Our correspondents share their experiences and confrontations about educational inequalities, accessibility issues and influence of societal norms and structures. 

Corona Virus

2020 is a year different from others before - not least because of the Corona pandemic. The worldwide spread of a highly contagious virus is something that affects all of us in very different ways. To get a better picture of how the pandemic's plethora of explicit and implicit consequences influences our everyday life, we share lockdown stories from correspondents all over the world.

Growing Fast

Although we started just over a year ago, Correspondents of the World has a quickly growing community of correspondents - and a dedicated team of editors, translators and country managers.

73

Correspondents

86

Stories

41

Countries

216

Translations

Contact

Correspondents of the World is as much a community as an online platform. Please feel free to contact us for whatever reason!

Message Us

Message on WhatsApp

Call Us

Joost: +31 6 30273938