AU Chair spreads hope as continent marks Ramadan amid COVID-19 pandemic that has killed about 1300 Africans

Africans battling coronavirus should take courage and strength from the message of Ramadan, Chairperson of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

“The crescent moon has risen over our continent, Africa. And the sacred month of Ramadan has begun. On behalf of the African Union, I wish our Muslim brothers and sisters well during this holy month.

“In Bamako, in Mogadishu, in Ndjamena, in Dar es Salaam, in Cairo and in Cape Town, during this month, Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset and engage in acts of devotion and charity. Ramadan is a time for reflecting on the values of humility, simplicity, sacrifice and solidarity,” said President Ramaphosa, adding that “sadly, Ramadan this year will not be as it was last year. We are in the shadow of a global public health emergency. The coronavirus pandemic has left no area of the world untouched,” President Ramaphosa said.

he indicated that a “number of countries have imposed measures to contain the spread of the virus,” which “means that many of the Ramadan traditions like praying at the mosque, making the Umrah pilgrimage and visiting family and friends are not taking place.”

“If we are to prevail against this pandemic, we have to stand united and observe the provisions that are in place to safeguard our health and the health of others. At a time where millions face hunger, destitution and misery, the charitable acts performed during Ramadan are more solely needed than ever. It will be a long and difficult road to restore our society,” he said.

“The Ramadan spirit of giving and of charity will continue to be needed for a long time to come. As Africans, we will emerge from this hardship with a new consciousness. We will understand, and perhaps as never before, our great duty to help and support those less fortunate than ourselves will be enhanced. As the holy Quran says, if anyone saves a life a life, it is as if they have saved the whole of humankind. May this blessed month, be a time in which we strengthen the bonds of solidarity that exist between us as Africans.”

To date, 27,385 cases COVID-19 cases have been confirmed on the African continent, with 1,297 deaths, and 8,172 recoveries. Globally, the total number of confirmed cases has surpassed 2.7 million including more than 190 000 fatalities. Importantly, there are more than 737 000 people who have recovered from the virus.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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