Music as a conveyor of public health messages on COVID-19 in Kenya

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Jack Ogembo
Cellyne Anudo
Benard Kodak


The use of music as a method of communicating messages on developing issues and as a source of entertainment accentuates its multifarious role in many societies. Four Kiswahili songs composed by Kenyan musicians and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic issue were downloaded from the YouTube. These were songs by Sawbo feat. Gyg, Indakala The Poet, Danny P. Mboka and Salome Wairimu.  The lyrics were then transcribed, translated and critically analyzed to discern the public health messages inherent in them. This study analyzes the use of songs as a public health strategy in the fight against COVID-19 by examining the thematic concerns and conceptual metaphors in the selected songs. The strategy of using music for edutainment allows educational messages to be ingrained in entertainment channels in order to positively change behaviours and attitudes. Music focuses on the socio-cultural values and aids in the executions of day-to-day procedures. Music is used here to convey public health messages that inform the citizens about the existence of the novel corona virus and how to cope with the pandemic while at the same time entertaining the masses. Images of COVID-19 pandemic are presented in conceptual metaphors. The songs also address specific common themes that are caused by the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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How to Cite
Ogembo, J. ., Anudo, C. ., & Kodak, B. (2021). Music as a conveyor of public health messages on COVID-19 in Kenya. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(1).
Author Biographies

Jack Ogembo, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, University of Kabianga, Kenya

Jack Ogembo is a Professor of Literature at the University of Kabianga, in Kericho, Kenya. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Literature (University of Cape Town). He has research leaning and interests in Linguistics and Literature, Literary Theory and Criticism, Semiotics, Cultural Studies and how technology affects them in Fiction. He has published a number of papers on these topics. He would like to pursue research on Post colonialism and Hybridity, Futurism and Science Fiction and How human migration impacts or transforms nationalism.

Cellyne Anudo, Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, University of Kabianga, Kenya

Cellyne Anudo is a Lecturer of Linguistics at Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, University of Kabianga, Kenya. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (Kisii University). Dr. Anudo is actively engaged in Linguistics and Communication research, with over 8 years’ experience of university teaching. She is an expert in Language and Communication with specific bias in Language and Gender, Language and Culture, Cognitive Linguistics and Mass Communication. She is a Content Consultant for Oxford Primary for Eastern Africa and a Book Reviewer of creative works for Oxford University Press.

Benard Kodak, Department of Languages, Linguistics and Culture, Maasai mara University, Kenya

Benard Kodak is a Senior Lecturer of Linguistics and The Dean, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Maasai Mara University, Kenya. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Linguistics (Maseno University). He has over 12 years’ experience of University teaching and has held Senior Administrative and Management positions at the University level. Previously he has served as the Director, Board of Postgraduate Studies, the Dean School of Arts and Social Sciences and Chairman of Department, Department of Linguistics, Languages and Culture, Maasai Mara University. His research interests include applied linguistics, multimodality and mass communication.

How to Cite

Ogembo, J. ., Anudo, C. ., & Kodak, B. (2021). Music as a conveyor of public health messages on COVID-19 in Kenya. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(1).


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