‘Africa Stop Ebola’: A better alternative to ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

Social media is rallying behind an alternative to Bob Geldof’s Band Aid 30, which champions advice and solidarity over scenes of desperation designed to tug at the heart and purse strings of the general public.

Africa Stop Ebola was recorded before the release of Geldof’s third rehash of the charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?, and includes well-known African musicians such as Tiken Jah Fakoly from Côte d’Ivoire and Malian artists Amadou and Mariam, Salif Keita and Oumou Sangare.

The #AfricaStopEbola hashtag is being used to share and discuss the alternative charity single, which has seen an increase in support since Band Aid 30 launched on Sunday.

The lyrics capture the collective sadness felt in countries most badly hit by the disease: “Africa is full of sadness, to see our families die … everyone is in danger … we must act”, attempts to tackle the broader issues around the disease and shares practical medical advice, like the verse sang by Fakoly:

If you feel sick the doctors will help you

I assure you, the doctors will help you

There is hope to stop Ebola

Have confidence in the doctors

The official YouTube video has been watched nearly 200 000 times and it is currently at number 78 on the iTunes download charts. BandAid 30 is at number one. All profits of the song will go to Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders, who are working to treat the virus in the region.

Africa Stop Ebola is a radical departure from Band Aid, whose tactic has been to scramble together the biggest pop stars in the world – from One Direction to Bono – and encourage the western public to dig deep with emotive lyrics.

Maeve Shearlaw for the Guardian Africa Network. Read the full story here.

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