Colombia Encourages Social Distancing by Recreating African Dancing Pallbearer Meme

Julio Carvajal/YouTube

Police in the Colombian city of Quibdó attempted to promote social distancing and other Chinese coronavirus safety measures this week by recreating a popular African dancing pallbearer meme.

Footage of the incident showed a group of police carrying a coffin on their shoulders while moving to the rhythm of the house music that Internet users have dubbed over original footage of pallbearers dancing in Ghana, who in 2017 gained international recognition for their flamboyant coffin-carrying dances.

As some police danced through the street holding the coffin, others showed the public how to wash their hands, while one officer holding a megaphone urged people to stay at home and respect the nationwide quarantine.

“It is recommended, for your health and that of your family, try to stay at home,” said the officer on the megaphone. “National Police, we are one, we are all.”

The video consequently went viral across social media, causing some controversy between those who found the stunt humorous and other offensive towards the dead.

The original video of dancing pallbearers originated in Ghana, where mourners would hire groups of well-dressed men to carry the coffin while singing and dancing to upbeat music.

Chocó is one of Colombia’s regions with the largest Afro-descended populations, as well as the most affected by the county’s decades-long armed conflict.

Last week, Colombian police also attempted to lighten the mood by holding Zumba classes outside tower blocks to encourage people to exercise while also staying inside.

Like most countries, Colombia is currently in a state of nationwide lockdown and has implemented a system known as “pico and placa,” where each sex is only allowed out on alternate days. President Iván Duque has set a date of April 27th to lift the quarantine, although there still remains the possibility of an extension.

According to latest figures, Colombia has so far recorded 3,450 cases of the coronavirus and 319 deaths. With the exception of Ecuador, Latin America has so far not been as badly affected by the pandemic, with many of its countries reporting just a couple of hundred cases.

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