Adventure Zambia

Über Land und Leute – on Country and People

Zambian Lockdown Artworks hosted in Bonn

The Covid-19 pandemic has halted and delayed many new projects and initiatives this year, one of them being an exhibition of digital artworks by Danny Chiyesu at Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. However, as the saying goes, if one door closes, another one may open … a door to new formats and approaches.

In late summer we suggested to WZ Bonn to do an online exhibition presenting Danny Chiyesu’s lockdown artworks which he created in the period April to June. When our partner finally agreed to the idea it was early October and with happy determination we went ahead, step by step into a new field, bringing together photos of artworks, audios recorded by the artists and background information on Covid-19 in Zambia.

„Just paint, paint, paint“: November 6, 2020 – January 29, 2021.  



Surprise: How Africa is coping with Covid-19

In March 2020 the Covid-19 health prospects seemed extremely bleak for the African continent. Estimates of potential deaths were very high, given the clearly poor health systems in most countries, the high prevalence of high-density slums in urban areas (56%, excluding North Africa) and the corresponding low access to basic hand-washing facilities (34% of households).

“Anywhere between 300,000 and 3.3 million African people could lose their lives as a direct result of COVID-19, depending on the intervention measures taken to stop the spread”, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) summarized experts’ grim estimates in an April 2020 [1]. By then most African countries had already taken rapid lockdown measures, with some governments declaring states of emergency and introducing strict curfews with the first onset of Sars-Cov-2 infections or even shortly before that.

The measures taken proved costly however in terms of economic and social impact. ECA estimated that one-month full lockdown across Africa would cost the continent about $ 65 billion or 2.5% of its GDP. Besides aggregate data, it was pointed out that on the micro level lockdowns on a continent with 71% of the workforce engaged in the informal sector outside their homes would mean sharp rises in hunger and aggravated problems in food security.

About half a year later the impact of Covid-19 in Africa is manifold and offers many facets to those who wish to look beyond standard assumptions and perceptions. With less than 42,000 official deaths attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa (retrieved from, 10/26/2020), the death toll clearly is nowhere close to the initial estimates. Africa has so far got off comparatively lightly on the health front, though limited testing capacities may underestimate to a certain extent how much the virus has spread and caused deaths.

Still, the obvious absence of a total meltdown in African health facilities – including those relatively sophisticated ones in South Africa – makes experts in public health and virologists search for valid explanations. According to a BBC report ( the theory most quoted in this discussion is the youthful population, with other factors coming on top, including the quick lockdowns executed by African governments earlier this year.

However, doubt remains how the prevalence of a large number of asymptomatic cases in the course of several months can be explained by this combination of factors. Interestingly enough, a new hypothesis is attracting attention which brings the very challenging factors of living in high density slum areas to the centre of potential alleviating factors.
The BBC quotes Professor Shabhir Madhi, a reputated South-African virologist: “The protection might be much more intense in highly populated areas, in African settings” and explains  the assumption that people living under such circumstances might have been widely infected by other coronaviruses before, which might have given rise to “some level of pre-existing cross-protective immunity”. Since overcrowded urban slum areas are by no means restricted to Africa, but also found in huge numbers as favelas in Covid-19-stridden Brazil, the hypothesis needs careful testing with suitable samples containing extracts from human blood cells.

In the mean-time Africa is struggling hard to keep the economic and social impact of Covid-19 at bay, and the first recession in 25 years cannot be reversed any more. While some sectors such as the tourism industry are more affected than others – the overall decreases in GDP and numbers of job losses are rather notable. In Q2 South Africa’s GDP contracted by 16% compared to 2019 [2]. Though there may be economic pandemic winners among African countries, overall African GDP is estimated to decrease by about 5% according to an analysis quoted in the African Union Covid-19 Response Fundraiser Event on October 24 [3]. This online event is part of some kind of series of events and webinars which have brought together prominent African leaders from politics, international organizations, business, culture and civil society in virtual meeting rooms and conference halls since the outbreak of the pandemic. This development can be seen as a new feature of digitization in Africa, which had already gained substantial momentum in fin-tech before 2020.  



Natural Wonder Thriving during Lockdown

Last year in november it seemed the Victoria Falls – the widest comprehensive water falls in the world – were about to become a shocking victim of climate change and ensuing drought. During the dry season which usually lasts until early december, the mighty Zambezi faced exceptionally low water levels and hardly any water was seen coming down from the Eastern side of the falls.

As irony of fate, in April 2020, after the end of the rainy season, the Victoria Falls suddenly carried the biggest water load measured in the previous 10 years. But because of lockdowns both in Zambia and Zimbabwe, neither local nor international tourists were present to honour the beauty of the natural wonder.

Only about two months later representatives of tour operators were allowed into the park to get new photographs and videos. Here is one short video by Thomas Dhliwayo from Victoria Falls.

Further information on recent developments in Southern Africa tourism can be found in an African Business Magazine analysis, published on July, 9.

„A Blessing in Disguise“

African economies have been hit hard by the lockdowns in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses – no matter if big or small – had to be shut down. Many professions have been affected including artists, musicians and performers.
Zambian artist Danny Chiyesu, who celebrates his 30-year-anniversary this year, was also sent home from his graphic designer desk by his employer „Mission Press“ in Ndola. Three months of lockdown altogether – which he found hard to accept in the beginning.
However he came to realize that the forced lockdown at this home turned out to be a „blessing in disguise“, as he explains in the following audio.

Covid-19 in Sambia

Seit März 2020 sind auch die Menschen in Sambia intensiv von der SARS-CoV-2-Pandemie betroffen. Nachdem am 18. März die erste Infektion mit dem neuen Coronavirus bestätigt wurde, liegt ihre kumulierte Zahl mittlerweile bei 920 (Stichtag: 27. Mai). Bereits Mitte März hatte die sambische Regierung alle Bildungseinrichtungen schließen lassen und am 23. März einen ersten Notfallplan mit  weiteren Sicherheitsmaßnahmen verkündet. Restaurants, Geschäfte und Fitness-Center wurden ebenso wie Hotels und Lodges im Rahmen des teilweisen Lockdowns geschlossen. Zu einem umfassenden Lockdown wie in Südafrika oder im benachbarten Simbabwe kam es allerdings nicht.

Am 8. Mai hob Präsident Edgar Chagwa Lungu mit Hinweis auf die schwierige wirtschaftliche Situation einen Teil der Maßnahmen auf. Bars bleiben allerdings weiterhin geschlossen, und es gelten strikte Hygiene-Regeln. In der Öffentlichkeit müssen alle Sambier Masken tragen und sollen Abstand halten. Die Maskenpflicht gilt auch für Schulen.

Die Zahl der offiziell registrierten Covid-19-Toten liegt zum Stichtag wie bereits in der vergangenen Woche bei 7 Fällen (Simbabwe: 4 Fälle). Neben der Hauptstadt Lusaka ist vor allem die Stadt Nakonde, an der Grenze zu Tansania gelegen, stark vom Infektionsgeschehen betroffen. Die meisten Infektionen wurden bei Lastwagenfahrern und Prostituierten festgestellt. Erstere gelten nach Einschätzung von Sambias Gesundheitsminister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya als Risikogruppe, da sie unterwegs in mehreren Städten anhalten und bekanntermaßen mehrere Sexpartner hätten (BBC News, 10.05.20).

Young Zambia

Young Zambia, Karin Moder, Book Release, Poverty, Abundant Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa, Armut, Ressourcenreichtum
A truly international project: German editors featuring Zambian experts who provide their expertise on a variety of topics such as geography, society, economy, tourism, education, health and culture. Highly informed and committed articles and interviews portraying a country with about 46% of its population under the age of 15, a rather young democracy in sub-Saharan Africa and an exciting tourism destination still fairly known outside Africa. In addition, a carefully chosen collection of photos allows colourful and authentic insights into Young Zambia.

Title: Young Zambia. Between Poverty and Abundant Resources
(English Edition)
Karin Moder / Heribert Zingel
Publisher: BoD, number of pages: 184

Paperback: € 14,99 (incl. VAT), ISBN: 978-3749497805
available at BoD book shop
available at
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Direct order from the editors:

Adventure Zambia – 10 Stories

Adventure Zambia, 10 Stories, Buchvorstellung, Karin Moder, Sambia, Afrika, Africa, Sub-Saharan, Africa„Adventure Zambia“
bewegend, bezaubernd, beunruhigend. touching, enchanting, disturbing
Zweisprachige Buchausgabe / Bi-lingual edition

10 Geschichten – Porträts, Beschreibungen, Berichte über Sambia. Sie zeigen die starken Kontraste von arm und reich, von Tradition und Moderne. Sie zeigen ein Land, das gerade so den Sprung in den Club der Länder mit mittlerem Einkommen geschafft hat und dessen politische Führung nach der letzten Präsidentschaftswahl vor großen Herausforderungen steht – das Erreichte zu bewahren und die weiterhin große Armut zu verringern.
Sambia ist ein wenig bekanntes Urlaubsland trotz seines großen Potenzials, riesiger Nationalparks und der sagenhaften Victoria Falls im Südwesten an der Grenze zu Simbabwe. Ein guter Ausgangspunkt, um benachbarte Länder im südlichen Afrika kennenzulernen.

Autorin: Karin Moder, im Selbstverlag, Seitenzahl: 90
Taschenbuch: 7,95 EUR (inkl. MwSt.), ISBN: 978-3-00-049321-8
eBook: 4,99 EUR (inkl. MwSt.)

„Adventure Zambia“ in den Medien:

Short description:
10 stories – portraits, descriptions and reports about Zambia. They reveal the sharp contrast between rich and poor, between tradition and trendiness. They feature a country which has only just managed to leap into the club of countries with middle income and whose policy-makers are faced with tremendous challenges after the latest presidential election – to preserve the achievements and reduce the remaining rather substantial poverty. Little known as a holiday destination in spite of its huge potential, vast national parks and the fabulous Victoria Falls in the south-west of the country close to bordering Zimbabwe. Zambia is indeed a useful gateway to familiarize with neighbouring countries of Southern Africa.

Author: Karin Moder, self-publisher, number of pages: 90
Paperback: 7,95 EUR (incl. VAT), ISBN: 978-3-00-049321-8
– Orders can be placed by e-mail
eBook: 4,99 EUR (incl. VAT)

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