Following the broadcast of harrowing television pictures of flood victims in England, several African countries have joined together to try and raise awareness of the disaster. People from all over Africa united at a massive outdoor concert in Somalia under the ‘Make flood history’ banner.
The concert was the brain child of ageing Ethiopian former rock star Scruffy Bob and Tiny Mbono, lead singer of Africa’s biggest rock band. Scruffy said he hoped all Africans would donate whatever they could to help the plight of brothers in another land, in the Vale of Evesham. ‘We are trying to educate our native people, to raise awareness. Our people find the situation difficult to understand. ‘There is a great flood in Oxford,’ they say, ‘and yet the people of Henley thirst.’ They do not know whether to send bottled water or just empty bottles. We do have piles of blankets that you’ve sent us in the past, are they any good to you?’
Nations like Rwanda and Ethiopia ‘put their differences behind them,’ for the duration of the live concert, which was televised across the continent. The organisers also included a video-link to a simultaneous concert in Indonesia, ‘Live Severn,’ with the event host sending a message of hope: ‘Vale people, do not despair; for, by all accounts, it’s not exactly a tsunami, is it?’
There was a noticeable outpouring of emotion during the concert, when footage of the floods was shown, backed by a melancholy rock song. The images of people in England carrying their belongings upstairs and sleeping in community centres will haunt the audience for years to come. The night ended on a more rousing note with Mbono and Scruffy leading a group of musicians, and the crowd in a passionate version of the newly released charity single, ‘Do they know it’s summertime at all?’