The Covid-19 pandemic saw lots of businesses adopt digital processes and opt for online transactions. Despite the curfews, work from home advisories and restricted movement, most corporate companies have been able to keep their business operations running.
The hotel and entertainment industry is arguably one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Social distancing and most of the Covid-19 protocols have not allowed for gatherings and socializing, which mostly takes place in clubs and hotels. By extension, the crisis has hit DJs, who mostly rely on these crowds for their business.
Most DJs in the country work on contract basis while some are paid based on how much business they can attract. If the premise lacks business, this will automatically translate to the DJ not getting paid.
Organizations such as the Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) have asked the government to consider reopening their businesses to help them offset piling rent arrears and avert job losses.
Restaurants and clubs were shut down soon after the first case of Covid-19 was announced in the country on March 12th. About two months later, President Uhuru Kenyatta in a state address, reopened restaurants but only for a limited period.
Since then, the timings have been extended to 8pm but only for dine-in customers. Alcohol sale is prohibited in restaurants and most Kenyans have resorted to buying their drinks from Wines and Spirits Shops and partaking indoors. People who have attempted to reopen their bars or even lock their clientele in have found themselves on the wrong side of the law, with revelers arrested and stock confiscated.
Popular DJ Mdosi, a legendary DJ from the 80s, 90s and 2000s through a post on social media appealed to the president to reopen pubs and enable them fend for their families again.
He wrote on his Facebook account:
“Dear Mr. President, My president, your excellency Sir, On 29th of this month will be my Birthday.I beg of you to open up clubs and eateries. DJs, Waitresses, Waiters,Cleaners, Bouncers,and Club Directors and others in this entertainment industry have truly suffered. I’ve not been able to fend for myself or my family and honestly speaking,the house agents have now sent auctioneers to me and I believe many others are in the same (predicament) I’m praying from the bottom ofmy heart that you consider my humble request. I promise to do a one hour online mix of soul music dedicated to you. Thanking you in advance.
His sentiments have been echoed by a number of DJs facing the same predicament over the past few months.
DJ Scrim wrote “2020 imekua ngori sana. On my side ni pandemic juu ya distaster. From Police Brutality in February to losing my brother in early March then lockdown meaning no hustle! So stress and depression if you are not strong.But I gotta have faith in God.”
The President is set to address the nation again on the 29th of September. Most DJs and people in the entertainment sector are hoping that the curfew will be lifted so business can resume.