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Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars performing benefit concert at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
3/4/2015 3:23:07 PM

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars will give a benefit concert March 19 at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to raise money for Doctors Without Borders.

Doctors Without Borders is among the agencies combating the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. In less than a year, the disease has killed 3,336 people in the West African nation.

The 5 p.m. concert “Make Sierra Leone Ebola Free” will be held at the Pavilion. Tickets are $15. They will go on sale the day of the event at a temporary ticket booth on the entrance road to Magnolia. Cumulus Media and Fox Audio Visual are event sponsors with assistance from the African Studies Department at the College of Charleston.

Tom Johnson, Magnolia's executive director, said, "Magnolia is delighted to support the All Stars in their effort to inform and educate the public about the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and West Africa. Because of the historic ties between South Carolina and Sierra Leone, we're hoping the public will help us help Doctors Without Borders in their tireless effort to bring medical relief to Sierra Leone and other African nations."

During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, West Africans were captured and shipped to South Carolina and Georgia. Many of them were taken from the rice-growing region of West Africa that includes modern-day Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus also has killed 1,990 people in Guinea and 3,826 people in Liberia. Both countries border Sierra Leone.

Christopher Day, an assistant professor in the African Studies and Political Science departments at the College of Charleston, said, "Because Ebola is starting to fade from view doesn't mean the problem has gone away or that Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are in the clear. Moreover, there are still persistent crises elsewhere in Africa such as in Central African Republic and South Sudan that require just as much attention."

The eight-member All Stars band was formed a decade ago. After the release of the critically acclaimed film that bore their name and documented the band's inception in refugee camps during Sierra Leone's rebel war, they have appeared on Oprah and performed with Aerosmith, Dispatch, and Ziggy Marley. After a six-month world tour that began in April 2014, the All Stars haven't been able to return home due to the Ebola crisis. When the virus took hold in Sierra Leone, the band was quick to incorporate fundraising into their tour.

Doctors Without Borders's West Africa Ebola response began in March 2014 and includes activities in Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone. The organization currently employs 302 international and about 4,000 national locally hired staff in the region. It operates eight Ebola case management centers, providing about 650 beds in isolation and one transit center.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Doctors Without Borders has admitted more than 8,100 patients, among whom around 4,960 were confirmed as having Ebola. More than 2,300 patients have survived. More than 1,400 tons of supplies have been shipped to the affected countries since March 2014.

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