Today in #TheLagosReview

SA Writer Deon Meyer looks back at ‘Fever’, his scarily familiar thriller

The parallels between Meyer’s 2016 ‘story of survival’ and the Covid-19 pandemic are chilling

South African novelist Deon Meyer has spoken about his 2016 thriller Fever, saying he wishes that he hadn’t written such an accurate depiction of the coronavirus pandemic which is currently ravaging the world.

“I find no pleasure in it,” said the crime fiction author and screenwriter.

“I keep thinking of the sorrow of all those thousands of people who have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, and are living in fear.”

Fever is a story of survival, set in South Africa after a virus wiped out 95 per cent of the world’s population. The book tells the story of the survival of a father and son, Nico and Willem, who are among the few people left in the world, as they try to build a community.

While the world is far more decimated in his novel, four years later, some of the parallels between Meyer’s Fever and the Covid-19 pandemic are still chilling: a coronavirus transmitted from animals to humans, spreading like wildfire across the globe.

In a bizarrely premonitory scenario, borders are shut, but then characters grow increasingly wary of the other as survival instincts kick in.

Fever was the culmination of so many different emotions, concerns and a lot of reading,” said Meyer, 61, speaking to AFP by phone, locked-down at his southern Stellenbosch home.

“I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic fiction, and read the genre intensely in my 20s and 30s,” he explained.

“As I became more and more aware of global warming, Ebola, the Avian Influenza (H5N1) of 1996 and the H1N1 Swine Flu virus of 2009 to 2010, I could not help but think that we live in a world where an apocalypse is a possibility.”

There are a number of haunting similarities between Deon Meyer’s ‘Fever’ and the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Atlantic Monthly Press
There are a number of haunting similarities between Deon Meyer’s ‘Fever’ and the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Atlantic Monthly Press
‘Fever’: How the ‘eerily accurate’ story formed
Those concerns became a source of inspiration in 2012 during a flight back from New York. “I bought a collection of short stories, and read them on the plane,” Meyer recalled. “One of the stories … was post-apocalyptic and got me thinking about other possible directions the author could have taken.”

By the time Meyer touched down in Cape Town, the Fever storyline had started taking shape in his head.

In the mango tree there was a bat, with a different kind of corona virus in its blood, one that could infect other people easily when inhaled, and with the ability to make them extremely ill

Over the next three years, the ex-journalist gathered scientific information to feed into his scenario.

“I needed to kill off 95 per cent of the world population, but leave all infrastructure intact,” Meyer explained. “A virus seemed to be the ideal choice.”

Hours of consultations with two virology experts led him to the “best candidate” for the task: a coronavirus.

“They … gave me full details on how it could happen,” said Meyer.

The trio’s imaginary scenario was fleshed out into the novel’s pages.

“A man somewhere in tropical Africa lay down under a mango tree,” wrote Meyer in Fever. “The man’s resistance was low, because he was HIV-positive and not being treated for it. There was already one corona virus in the man’s blood.”

“In the mango tree there was a bat, with a different kind of corona virus in its blood,” he continued. “One that could infect other people easily when inhaled, and with the ability to make them extremely ill.”

When the first cases of coronavirus were detected in China last December, Meyer admitted going back through his notes in shock.

“Even most of the developing countries had extensive plans for such an incident,” reads another extract of Fever. “In theory, these should have worked. But nature paid no heed to theories, and nor did human fallibility.”

Next up, a ‘lockdown’ crime novel
As he has watched a coronavirus play out in the real world, Meyer felt that most governments had based their responses on “good scientific advice”.

“So far, so good,” he told AFP, alluding to US President Donald Trump as one of the “few exceptions”.

But the author also feared the consequences of potential months under lockdown.

“How long will people be able to consider the greater good as more important than the survival of them and their families,” he asked.

Poorer nations, including South Africa, have already been battling to keep citizens indoors, with many people living off informal work.

In Fever, that struggle blows up into a full-fledged war between survivors under the watch of a small group of humans that has engineered the virus.

Similar conspiracy theories are making the rounds of social media today, claiming the pandemic was man-made.

Meyer hoped his novel would not provide fuel for “wacko conspiracy theorists”. He found solace in the fact that such people were unlikely to “read beyond a few wacko websites”.

As South Africa slipped into its fourth week of lockdown and coronavirus continued to spread, Meyer knew what his next project would be.

“A crime novel,” he said. “Set during the lockdown”.

Source: The National

Simi Finally Reveals Who ‘Duduke’ is about in new video

Simi is pregnant.

She recently released the video of her latest single titled “Duduke” and it turns out the love song was dedicated to her unborn child.

The Adasa Cookley directed video features a heavily pregnant Simi at the beach as she sings sweetly about her love for the little one and how she can’t wait to meet him/her.

We can’t wait too

Watch the video below:

TIME Magazine’s Most Influential People Share Inspiration Amidst The Crisis

In the wake of a new coronavirus reality, TIME Magazine 100 issue “Finding Hope” is featuring members of the TIME 100 community who have affected the world in various capacities, such as heads of state, titans of industry, icons of culture, etc.

TIME magazine had initially planned the regular annual TIME 100, but due to the ongoing situation in the world, they instead asked some of Time’s most influential people in the world for insight and perspective into some of the challenges we are all facing and how we can navigate the new reality while remaining hopeful and learning from it.

TIME’s new cover: “Finding Hope” features Margaret Atwood, Sundar Pichai, Stephen Curry, Tsai Ing-wen, the Dalai Lama, Jerry Brown and other TIME 100 leaders.

The president of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen :

Taiwan is no stranger to hardship, and our resilience stems from our willingness to unite to surmount even the toughest obstacles. This is what I hope Taiwan can share with the world: the human capacity to overcome challenges together is limitless.

The Dalai Lama:

We Buddhists believe that the entire world is interdependent…The outbreak of this terrible coronavirus has shown that what happens to one person can soon affect every other being…But it also reminds us that a compassionate or constructive act—whether working in hospitals or just observing social distancing has the potential to help many.

Margaret Atwood:

If you aren’t ill and even if you have small children and feel your brain has been kidnapped you’re actually in a good place, comparatively speaking. You can enjoy this time, albeit at a pace somewhat less frenzied than it was when things were ‘normal. Many are questioning that pace. What was the hurry? and deciding to live differently. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. How you experience this time will be, in part, up to you.

Dr. Jerry Brown: During the 2014 Ebola Crisis, Dr. Jerry Brown resiliently shaped the landscape of healthcare in Liberia, landing him on the cover of Time Magazine and featuring him in their Person of the Year article. He says:

One of the best ways to support frontline #health workers is to first appreciate the sacrifices they are making to save lives in the face of limited resources. It doesn’t have to be by providing them gold or diamonds or even money, but just a word of appreciation and encouragement. It is an assurance that they are not alone.

Stephen Curry:

I was the first NBA player tested for COVID-19. Thankfully, my test came back negative. But that experience hit me, and it hit me hard. I’m fortunate to have the job I do, and not have to worry about all the many things crippling families across the country during this pandemic: unemployment, hunger, housing. How couldn’t I use all of my resources and the full power of the platform my wife and I have built to help those desperately in need during this time? We have a responsibility to one another.

Burna Boy’s ‘African Giant’ most streamed African album on Spotify.

Nigerian singer, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu popularly known as Burna Boy has set a new record on global music streaming site, Spotify.

The controversial artiste is the first African to attain over 200 million streams with his album on Spotify.

His African Giant album has over 200 million streams on the streaming platform. This makes it the first African album to achieve such feat.

The album was released in 2019 after he stirred up drama following his Coachella call-up.

Burna Boy had called out the organisers of the show for spelling his name in small fonts.

The album later got nominated for the 2020 Grammy Awards Best World Album category.

Burna Boy, born on July 2, 1991 rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing Like to Party, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E in 2013.

In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album Outside marked his major-label debut.

In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards and was announced as Apple Music’s Up Next Artist.

His fourth studio album, African Giant was released in July 2019; it won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music album at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date