This animated monster is teaching children in Nigeria — and around the world — about coronavirus
Nigerian filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan has created a 90-second animation to help children understand why they have to stay indoors to help stem the spread of coronavirus. First made in English and three Nigerian languages, it’s been shared for free online and dubbed into languages spoken across the globe.
The animated short tells the story of Habeeb and his older sister, Funke. Habeeb gets bored of staying indoors and tries to sneak out of the house to play soccer. He is warned by his sister, who tells him about coronavirus and its dangers.
“You can get the deadly coronavirus. Do you know what will happen when you do? You will bring the coronavirus home and then infect everyone. Mummy will be sick; no more jollof rice. Daddy will be sick; no more going out to see movies ” Funke says in the video.
Habeeb insists on going out and is confronted by the coronavirus monster. The confrontation makes him realize the need to stay indoors. The cartoon also explains the importance of washing one’s hands thoroughly.
Some of Nigeria’s states including Lagos, its commercial center, and Abuja, the capital city, have been on lockdown since March 30.Akinmolayan, who has directed hit Nollywood movies like “The Set Up,” “Chief Daddy” and “The Wedding Party 2,” said he was inspired to create the coronavirus cartoon as he struggled to explain the need for lockdowns to his 5-year-old son.
“You want to tell your child not to go outside, but you need to explain why he needs to stay inside. Beyond that, you need to explain why he constantly has to wash his hands with soap and water. … It was really hard until I came up with the idea of the coronavirus monster,” he told CNN.
“I explained that the monster will take Mummy and Daddy and there would be no more ice cream and great food,” he added. “And that was when it occurred to me that a lot of parents were probably facing the same challenge.”
The cartoon is being distributed for free. Made in English and the Nigerian languages of Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo, it has been translated to French, Swahili and Portuguese and shared widely on some broadcast TV stations,
“I created a Google Drive and put all the videos there, including the soundtrack and made it public,” he said. “I said anyone could record a language over it or just do a subtitle. Some guys in Ivory Coast did a French version, guys in East Africa did a Swahili version. I stumbled on the Brazilian one. It was on Turkey’s national television and on TV in China, too.”