Covid-19: Haitian culture resists thanks to the virtual world

Funds raised by the T-Vice ball online - Photo: Ticket Magazine

Since March 19, 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has intruded into Haiti. Indeed, on that day, two cases of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were discovered and announced by the health authorities. Since then, many restrictions have been imposed on Haiti’s 11 million inhabitants, according to the latest statistics. Culture, the true soul of this first Black Republic in the world, one of the sectors hardest hit by the global disease, has nevertheless resisted thanks to digital technology. A look at the cultural agenda for this period of lockdown from March to June 2020.

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On June 14, 2020, the 26th edition of Haiti’s largest book fair “Livres en Folie” officially ended. For this remarkable book promotion event, everything related to sales, promotion and book signings took place online. Three websites were used to help book lovers take part in the festivities. “Covid-19 cannot close the books or even the annual book festival held in Haiti with physical distancing. That’s why “Livres en Folie” made this appointment virtually”, hammered one of the organizers of this event.

Haitian writer Évelyne Trouillot, author of “Rosalie l’infâme”, was the guest of honor of “Livres en Folie 2020”, an edition that, according to the organizers, met all expectations. 21 authors had signing sessions and 942 book titles were available during the week the event was held.

In the seventh art, the “Festival Nouvelles Vues Haiti” took place on digital platforms, including Facebook, between the end of May and the beginning of June. Thousands of people followed a rich online programme thanks to the help of artists in the country. Indeed, directors and producers of Haitian cinema entrusted their films to the organizers for the greatest pleasure of cinema lovers on the Internet.

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Many compas balls on the web

The Covid-19 pandemic did not prevent the holding of the fourth edition of “La Quinzaine des Musées”. From May 18 to 29, 2020, museologists, specialists in heritage conservation and other experts in this field raised public awareness online about the importance of Haitian museums and heritage. This event is at the initiative of the Haitian branch of the International Institute of Museums (Icom-Haiti). Symbolically, May 18, which was the date of the beginning of this “Quinzaine des Musées” is the national day dedicated to the bicolor (blue and red) flag of Haiti and the universities.

On the musical side, performances by compas bands were very frequent during the period of coronavirus spread in this country. The great tenors of this compas music such as Djakout #1, T Vice, Klass, Nu Look, Kréyol la, Harmonick and many others organized beautiful balls on the web. The particularity of these musical activities is the fundraising for the benefit of hospitals that do not have the means to care for Covid-19 patients.

Rappers from the Haitian evangelical sector also took care of themselves during lockdown in Haiti by offering online live performances. They got tens of thousands of views on digital platforms and raised hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

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