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Elephant Boom COVID Gloom

How Kenya’s economy survived lockdown

The new 'Elephant Boom COVID Gloom' film by RT Documentary explores how life has changed in Kenya due to the COVID pandemic. Although Africa’s COVID news coverage wasn’t as thorough, the devastation the lockdown caused the continent was significant. Though the Amboseli National Park saw a surprising baby boom among elephants during the pandemic - 206 calves, no one enjoyed this natural wonder. Kenya’s closed borders and the infection scare drove tourists away from the park, leaving the workers unemployed and desperate. The COVID pandemic was followed by another one of unemployment. A lot of people who worked in the service industry lost their jobs.

Statistics show only 0.3% of Kenyans had COVID, which is almost 200,000 people; the pandemic scare was massive and aggravated the job market. The jobs that required human contact were in danger. For example, a midwife confessed that regardless of decades of experience, she was afraid to help pregnant women and even touch them, which meant she could get infected. Still, some people managed to take advantage of the situation and even benefit from the temporary hardships. For example, Lincoln Njogu, a school principal, decided to breed chickens, pay off the debts, and earn enough to open a new school. Now the borders are open, and the people are hopeful again: will their lives get back to normal?

Though Covid-19 has made life in Africa harder, for many natives it was a real struggle even before the pandemic. This is especially true of women, who are deprived of basic human rights and often bear the burden of providing for their kids. In Uganda, Mariam Nabatanzi was sold into marriage at the age of 12 and gave birth to 44 children, of whom 38 survived. Since her husband abandoned the family, Mariam has scraped by to support her children. To find out more about Mariam’s hardships, watch our documentary Mama Uganda. A Mother’s struggle to support her 38 kids.