ARTIST: TAMANDA MPINGA
COUNTRY: MALAWI
MATERIALS USED: PENCIL

The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has affected the entire world in many ways.

As an artist, it has also affected me in a way, but has also presented an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful of nature. Apart from that, it has also offered an opportunity to expose what people are going through and the coping strategies in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

My name is Tamanda Mpinga, a student of art at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) in Malawi.

My programme consists of drawing and painting and my assignments are mostly of nature or drawings of people. This time, I had the chance to draw something that I won’t benefit from as an individual, but will help the world to know how others are struggling to cope with Covid-19.

The picture I used caught my attention when I was browsing on the Internet. I saw this picture of a child drinking water that is supposed to be used for washing hands. The picture depicts the extent to which countries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have failed to fight ravaging poverty.

Ironically, this child is given water to wash hands when he/she lacks water to drink. Yes, we thank the NGOs for their will to help countries struggling with the pandemic. But the big question is, where were they all this time?

Evidently, situations such as those we see in the picture are coming either because of poor prioritisation or not being prepared for future undertakings.

In other places, some people are stealing hand-washing solution. In some instances, some are just diluting the hand-washing solution directly in the water. This is very worrying. What if this child drinks from that water source?

The consequences are far-reaching and destructive. We all know it would lead to soap poisoning. If these NGOs helped in the fight against poverty, the country would not have seen these sad situations.

Apart from Covid-19 killing many people, every day adults as well as children are also dying of hunger. Children get malnourished in communities due to hunger largely because of poverty.

Our leaders and NGOs ought to understand that not only does the country need immediate response on Covid-19, many people are still struggling in various ways and they need attention as well.

For example, my country Malawi was supposed to be on 21-day lockdown from April 18 to May 8, but human rights defenders obtained an injunction against the lockdown.

The human rights defenders argued that a three-week lockdown in Malawi is not ideal because many people are poor and live on hand to mouth; hence, the need for a cushion of some sort.

“If this lockdown is to happen, we can die of hunger and not the coronavirus disease,” said one of the citizens.

This only shows that if government had invested in its people, the situation could not have been as bad as it is now.

So, this drawing seeks to show how hard it is to survive for many people in the Covid-19 era.

This should also teach governments and NGOs on the prudent use of resources.