A song from South Africa that has gone around the world and been endorsed by presidents and priests has become the sound of the pandemic for millions across southern Africa.
Last week the Jerusalema dance challenge was endorsed by President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the country’s plan to open up to tourism on 1 October.
The simple dance routine to the 2019 hit Jerusalema by Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode has provided an uplifting soundtrack for difficult times and has now been streamed more than 60m times on Spotify.
The upbeat song is a lamentation for God to take the singer to the heavenly city. The track topped the South African charts in December but in February, as lockdowns began to seem like a possibility, it was a group of friends in Angola who shot a video dancing to the song that sparked the global trend.
Master KG has been elated by his creation’s global success.
Ramaphosa urged South Africans to take part in the dance challenge "to reflect on the difficult journey we have all travelled, to remember those who have lost their lives, and to quietly rejoice in the remarkable and diverse heritage of our nation".
Speaking on the country’s Heritage Day he said: "And there can be no better celebration of our South African-ness than joining the global phenomenon that is the Jerusalema dance challenge. So I urge all of you to take up this challenge on Heritage Day and show the world what we are capable of."
The challenge, according to Nigerian musician Burna Boy, who featured on the Jerusalema remix, should be a unifying force for Africa.
"My hope is that it unites us through our divisions and misunderstandings and dance together. We are not in competition, we are one Africa, we are united,"the 2020 BET award best international act winner said.
[WATCH]: South Africa responds to the call by President @CyrilRamaphosa to take up the #JerusalemaChallenge ?? #HeritageDay2020 #JerusalemaDanceChallenge #MyHeritageYourHeritage pic.twitter.com/i6XqYqzRYm— Presidency | South Africa ?? (@PresidencyZA) September 24, 2020