Corona crisis

Mombasa Old-Town in “cessation of movement” over Ramadhan, May 2020

Video documentation from within, by Najeeb Ahmad Nassir Juma Bhalo

(Introduction by Kai Kresse; English translations and commentary summaries by Augustine Malija)

Najeeb A. Nassir is a young independent film-maker and photographer based in Mombasa’s Old Town. He also works as a radio presenter and news reader for a local station, and he is becoming known as a poet who is engaged in meaningful public dialogue and social critique. The video clips shown here are self-produced by him and were circulating on whatsapp and other social media channels during the month of Ramadhan, when Old Town Mombasa was under the imposition of “cessation of movement”, under directions from the government, for two consecutive two-week periods, from 6th May 2020. People were not allowed to leave the quarters of this part of town, while food supplies were brought in through authorized channels. One of Najeeb’s self-produced reports on this was also shown on BBC television.

The clips here capture vividly the voices of Old Town residents, particularly the youth, venting their anger and frustration about the sudden imposition of tough restrictions on their movements and everyday lives. Najeeb here comments directly on two of the four clips, all of which are shown here in their original Swahili versions capturing best the immediacy of experience and the emotions involved. As Muslims, Old Town residents were especially concerned about the restrictions upon their common provisions and the daily (re-)organization of their Ramadhan activities (and their alternatives), like special foods over night-time, late night prayers, and preparations for the Idd-el-Fitri holiday, which was coming up on 24th May 2020.

Residents of Old Town

8 May 2020

ENGLISH

"Residents of Old Town venting against Mombasa government’s lockdown measure to contain the spread of COVID-19. Some of their complaints include the lack of important services and goods such as food due to closure of food shops – although Kenya’s central government advised shops to be open. Other complaints include unemployment and scarcity of water." (Najeeb A. Nassir)

SWAHILI

"Wakaaji wa Mji wa Kale wa Mombasa watoa dukuduku zao  katika siku ya kwanza ya kutoingia au kutoka katika eneo hilo baada ya Serikali kutoa amri hio kama jitihada za kuzuia maambukizo ya COVID-19. Baadhi ya malalamiko yaliyotolewa na wakaaji wa eneo hilo ni ukosefu wa huduma na bidhaa muhimu kama vile kukosa vyakula kwa ajili ya kufungwa kwa maduka ya vyakula licha ya Serikali ya Kenya kusema yafunguliwe, malalamishi mengine ni ukosefu wa maji na ajira." (Najeeb A. Nassir)

 

Mombasa's Old Town Entrepreneurs

12 May 2020

ENGLISH

"Mombasa’s Old Town entrepreneurs from fishermen through spice traders express tumult on the strict lockdown. They claim that the measure wreaked havoc in their business pursuits. The fact that they cannot operate ruins their revenues, their supply chains and their ability to provide for their families. Although food supply and service providing businesses have been allowed to operate, they are still disturbed by policemen in charge of enforcing the lockdown." (Augustine Malija)

SWAHILI

"Wajasiriamali wa mji wa Old Town kuanzia wavuvi mpaka wauza viungo vya kupikia wakieleza jazba zao juu ya kizuizi cha kufanya kazi nchini Kenya. Wanadai kwamba hatua hiyo imeleta usumbufu usiokua wa lazima katika biashara zao. Hii inapelekea kupunguza kipato chao, usambazaji wa bidhaa na uwezo wa kukimu familia zao. Pamoja na kua biashara za kusambaza chakula zinafanya kazi, bado wanasumbuliwa na maaskari wanaosimamia hatua hii ya serikali." (Augustine Malija)

Women of Old Town Mombasa

13 May 2020

ENGLISH

"Women of Old Town Mombasa express their concerns about and their challenges to Mombasa’s Corona lockdown. It disturbs them, since it happens during Ramadhan. In this regard, they cannot purchase groceries for cooking iftar dishes – special daily foods for breaking the fast during Ramadhan. In the same light, they wish clothing shops were allowed to open since their closure interferes with the custom to buy children clothes for Eid holiday. They claim to go to private hospitals whenever any of their family members shows symptoms for other diseases such as malaria. This is because they are afraid that public hospitals will end up advising that the symptoms could be of corona or they won’t offer services to reduce crowds in hospitals." (Augustine Malija)

SWAHILI

"Wanawake wa Mji wa Old Town Mombasa wakieleza dukuduku na changamoto zilizosababishwa na kizuzi cha kutoka cha serikali ya Kenya. Inawasumbua kwa sababu imetokea kipindi cha Ramadhan. Hivyo, wanashindwa kununua mahitaji kwa ajili ya kupika futari. Pamoja na hilo, wanatamani maduka ya nguo wangefunguliwa kwa sababu wanashindwa kuwanunulia watoto nguo za sikukuu. Wanpougua wanaenda hospitali binafsi pale ndugu zao wakiwa na magonjwa kama Malaria kwa sababu katika hospitali za serikali wanweza kushauriwa kuwa huenda wakawa na Korona." (Augustine Malija)

Youth of Old Town Mombasa

21 May 2020

ENGLISH

"This video shows youth from Tijara street, Old Town, Mombasa. They are protesting against a Corona control measure from the administration of Work for Youth 2020 Program. It requires them to bring their own work equipment to training. The equipment includes; brooms, wheelbarrows, gumboots and gloves – which they cannot afford. They are concerned they will be at risk if they work without gloves.

Work for Youth 2020 program has been established by Kenya’s central government in order to reduce COVID-19’s unemployment effects to Kenya’s youth. However, as the last speaker says, while being given work to do the young men were initially not paid…" (Najeeb A. Nassir)

SWAHILI

"Vijana kutoka mtaa wa Tijara, Old Town Mombasa wakisusia kuhusu maagizo waliyopewa ya kupeleka vifaa vyao wenyewe na wasimamizi wa mradi wa Kazi kwa Vijana. Baadhi ya maagizo waliyopewa vijana hao ni kuwa wapeleke vifaa vyao wenyewe vya kufanyia  kazi  vikiwemo:   fyagio, matoroli, gambuti  na glavu.

Kazi kwa vijana ya mwaka wa 2020 ni mradi ulioanzishwa na Serikali kuu ya Kenya kwa kusudi la kupunguza athari za kiuchumi zinazowashambulia vijana  wakati huu ambapo ulimwengu unapigana na maradhi thakili ya COVID-19." (Najeeb A. Nassir)