Durban – TV and radio personality, Bonang Matheba, has joined world superstars to form part of the short film cast for a Malaria campaign.
The campaign film which will be showcased worldwide starting with MTV Africa Day Concert on Saturday, in Joburg, is directed by Grammy-winning filmmaker, Meji Alabi.
Among the cast, is English former professional footballer David Beckham as a malaria champion.
The short film also includes stars like FC Barcelona striker football star, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Kenyan Olympic Gold-medalist and marathon world record-holder, Eliud Kipchoge, Nigerian Afropop singer, songwriter and actress, Yemi Alade and Kenyan 2016 Rio Olympic and 2020 Tokyo Olympic running champion, Faith Kipyegon are featured in the short film.
The campaign is aimed at highlighting the dangers of malaria and put pressure to on world leaders as malaria deaths reach the highest number in nearly a decade.
The latest World Malaria Report figures show that disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to an additional 47 000 malaria deaths between 2019 and 2020 - with a total of 627 000 lives lost to malaria in 2020 – the highest number in nearly a decade.
Children are especially vulnerable, accounting for 80% of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, with around 481500 losing their lives across the continent.
World leaders will meet next month in Kigali, Rwanda, for Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases summit, on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in June 23.
Reacting to her role, Matheba said supporting this campaign was about creating an African future-free of malaria, adding that she is passionate about raising up and enabling the leaders of tomorrow.
“We know this is a winnable fight – my home country South Africa is edging ever closer to eliminating this preventable disease.
‘Let’s take our voices to the Kigali summit on malaria and NTDs in June and the Global Fund replenishment in September and show leaders we must draw the line against malaria,” said Matheba.
David Beckham stated he has supported the fight against malaria for many years and is proud to be a part of the campaign alongside inspiring artists, athletes and champions from across Africa.
“This is a year of big opportunity and there is a way of curing this disease.
“World leaders have the power and responsibility to make change and create a safer, healthier, fairer world for all,” said Beckham.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general said WHO welcomed a new host of scientists, youth, and champions to join the malaria fight at a crucial time when progress against the disease is lagging.
“Draw The Line provides a platform for Africa's most powerful narrators to change this trajectory, disrupt political apathy, and lead the fight to end this treatable and preventable disease which kills a child nearly every minute,” said Ghebreyesus.