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Outrage over 'ignorant' Band Aid 30 Ebola lyrics

BLASTED: Sir Bob Geldof

'WHERE A kiss of love can kill you,' is just one of the new lines added to Sir Bob Geldof's charity anthem Do They Know It's Christmas to help raise funds to fight Ebola, and has caused widespread outrage across social media.

The former Boomtown Rats lead singer, has once again brought together his famous friends such as Boyband One Direction, Bono and singers Emeli Sande and Rita Ora to record the Band Aid track, he hopes, will raise resources to fight the deadly virus in Africa. But critics have branded his efforts offensive and claimed it reinforces negative stereotypes about the continent.

Twitter user,@MrBreis wrote: "The lyrics to this #BandAid30 song are ridiculous, misplaced, ignorant, backwards, nauseous, spiritually malevolent and condescending."

@MelissaMono added: "The African continent should sue the rest of the world for slander and defamation of character."

It will be the fourth time the song, first recorded 30 years ago in 1984, has been revisited, with the most recent effort released a decade ago.

Geldof, who wrote the song with Midge Ure, said he had been inspired to re-record the track because of the "phenomenal bravery of the NHS doctors and nurses who volunteered" to help the fight against the virus.

Some of the 2014 lyrics have been changed from the 1984 version about the famine in Ethiopia to reflect the Ebola crisis.

The original words: "Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears" have been replaced with "where a kiss of love can kill you and there's death in every tear."

Another line reads: "No peace and joy this Christmas in West Africa. The only hope they'll have is being alive".

"The lyrics of that song are just ridiculous. Help people by educating them through music and art not misleading them #BandAid30," added @RonkeLawal.

She said: "Charity is good, but charity combined with ignorance is dangerous. There are African billionaires who are donating to this end #Ebola".

'OFFENSIVE': Band Aid 30 lyrics

While African governments and philanthropists were slow to respond at first, it has been reported that three of Africa's richest men have joined a growing number of people pledging their support.

Patrice Motsepe, Aliko Dangote and Tony Elumelu have donated $1m, $800,000 and $600,000 respectively, while the African Union pushed the private sector to give over $28.5m in pledges.

Additionally, African musicians are using music in the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus with catchy, educational tunes.

Names including internationally-renowned stars, such as Amadou & Mariam have joined the growing number of voices from the continent ensuring that the message is heard and understood.

Solome Lemma, co-founder of grassroots response initiative Africa Responds, said there were "other ways Geldolf and his famous friends to contribute".

"While the original Band Aid single raised the profile of the Ethiopian famine and money, it left Ethiopia, and really the rest of Africa, with a terrible legacy that painted us as famished, poor and downtrodden," Lemma told Channel 4 News.

"If Geldof was really committed to using his platform as a musician, then work with African artists. There are a multitude of artists from the three most affected countries - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - and the rest of Africa that he could have bought on to do a different song. The first one was flawed in every way, including the terrible, patronising lyrics," he said.

Though it was rumoured that UK-based Afrobeats star Fuse ODG would be featured on the track, he was noticeably absent from the song's recording session in west London yesterday (Nov 15).

The new single, which will be available to download from 8am tomorrow (Nov 17) is expected to raise millions to help ease West Africa's Ebola crisis.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced he has waived VAT on the single.

He wrote on Twitter: "Just spoke to the remarkable Bob Geldof. Told him we'll waive VAT on #BandAid30 so every penny goes to fight Ebola."

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