‘Breaking the internet’, a phrase I once thought I would never use – the hums of cliché it enhances which translate into an inherent eye roll.
However, after the recent atrocities that riddled over our continent, we needed something comical not only to laugh at, but to increase the usage of whatever broadband fibers were left in the past 24 hours to stimulate our creativity, and cause a bit of joy within us – although at the cost of one’s mishap.
I remember seeing the first picture posted yesterday by BBC Africa. Initially I was appalled, simply because this large media platform never usually post the good about AU and SADC’s chair, but majority of his stories are based on negative or controversial phrases made by the President – a totally different narrative from media houses in the SADC region.
shortly after BBC’s post – Africans turned their anger into humour through various memes waving over Twitter, Facebook, in emails and chat rooms. Some had me in stitches, some so-so, and some just extremely ‘meh’. This created an uproar with the younger Pan-African generation, believing that we have stripped our culture and respect from elders away from us and are joining in ridiculing a leader that the West has completely tarnished the image of through media coverage. On the other side, there are those with my level of thinking, that believe that we have put leaders on such a pedestal we see them as more than human – and truly speaking, scenarios such as this not only evoke anger that people are ‘poking fun of the president’ but really that the president is a man, like you and I – that bleeds, sweats and falls.
All in all, I personally do not see the memes as Africans making fun of the president, instead us making light of a situation of how graciously a public figure fell. Our anger is misguided and directed at people making pictures of content that already exists. If you want your anger to be directed somewhere – lead it to the linear reporting done by bigger media platforms.