ZIO MWALE, Lusaka
ON THE eve of World AIDS Day, a candlelight vigil was held at Chawama’s Jesus Christ the King Church where a lean crowd of people turned up to keep alive the memories of those who have died of HIV and AIDS over the decades.
But another disease, COVID-19, took precedence in the church building, and its effects were more visible. Only few people were allowed to attend the commemoration in order to adhere to health guidelines, such as social distancing.
In a normal year, countries have held huge gatherings and marches to mark World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1, to remember those who have succumbed to the disease.
About 33 million people are believed to have died from AIDS worldwide since the disease was discovered.
COVID-19 has claimed 1.5 million since it broke out last December.
This year, the annual event was held with smaller numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Chawama, people who attended were all offered face masks and had to sanitise their hands. Inside, ushers were on guard to make sure everyone wore a face mask.
The service started with a march around the community with a banner displaying this year’s theme: “The Future is Our Responsibility, Let’s Take Action Now.”
Later they gathered for a sombre service punctuated by choruses, Bible readings, preaching and prayers, before the candles were lit, illuminating the church building with flickering lights.
The event was organised by the Reformed Church in Zambia, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Anglican Church, United Church of Zambia, Salvation Army, Presbyterian Church, Central Africa Presbyterian Church and Jesus Christ the King Church.
It was sponsored by the Zambia Interfaith Network Group (ZINGO) and was successfully held under CLICK TO READ MORE
ZIO MWALE, Lusaka