AS THE Ebola virus ravages sections of Africa, and confirmed cases in the US and Europe, some local artists in Jamaica have called for restrictions on travel to areas of Africa.

An advisory from the Ministry of Health has warned people against travelling to the Ebola-affected areas of Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa for entertainment and other purposes.

Speaking earlier this month (Oct 3), Dr Ferguson said he was appealing to entertainers to avoid ‘non-essential travel to Ebola-affected areas.

He said: “I intend to meet with the Association of Musicians and the tourism minister because we will have to make some tough decisions. I have been appealing to people, including entertainers, to avoid non-essential travel to Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. If they still decide to go our actions may have to include quarantining


Despite this, some recording artists continue to work in other parts of the continent, many contending that they will be safe there.

But the call has gotten louder among the local music fraternity with some like veteran sound system selector, Ricky Trooper calling for an overall ban on travelling to the continent.

Tommy Cowan

Tommy Cowan

Local MC and producer, Tommy Cowan, told The Gleaner that while he supports Trooper’s concern,

he would only endorse a travelling ban which targets some African countries instead of the entire African continent.

“Africa is a big place, but I don’t think musicians should be going to places like Liberia at this time. We should not use a brush and paint the entire Africa, but I definitely support a ban on certain countries,” he said.

Cowan also highlighted the health ministry’s poor management of the chikungunya virus outbreak, a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, and warned that an Ebola outbreak could be worse if the Government does not hastily prepare itself.

Jamaican reggae singer Fantan Mojah, however, says placing a ban on travelling to Africa would be a drastic decision, because Africans are not to be blamed for the creation of the virus.

“I am not going to say write off Mama Africa, because it is not the people who carry that virus on themselves. I would definitely go to Africa to perform, because it is a continent and it’s only a little part that is affected,” he said.

Fantan Mojah

Fantan Mojah

In fact, he plans to perform in Africa in December.

“I am trying to keep updated on the news to see if they have it under control.”

Reggae artist Chuck Fenda says the ban on Africa should take place with immediate effect. The artist believes travelling to Africa during the crisis is a gamble and warned that artists who decide to make the trip are putting others at risk.

“We will be putting our lives and the lives of others in danger. A man will sey he is performing in a country that is not infected, but people travel all over Africa to attend shows … sometimes you perform and you don’t know where the person comes from that is embracing you, nor where the person has been. We embrace our brothers and sisters in Africa, but in order to control the virus we should shut down all performances there,” he said.

Chuck Fenda

Chuck Fenda

Recording artist Mr Vegas says while he would contact the relevant authority before travelling to certain places in Africa to perform.

Africa is currently one of the strongest markets for reggae and dancehall music.

Recording artist Kalado recently returned from Africa, where he performed in Zimbabwe, while fellow artists Alaine and Chris Martin recently embarked on trips to the continent. Reggae singer Luciano is also set to perform in the southeast African country of Malawi on October 19.