Man­doza memes

CityPress - - Opportunity index -

Last week’s earthquake was another op­por­tu­nity for dodgy memes, in­clud­ing the tried-and-tested Man­doza ones. Although they are noth­ing new, the Man­doza and Ja­cob Zuma memes don’t seem to be go­ing away. And although some of them are gen­uinely chuckle- or laugh-out-loud wor­thy, a close and hon­est look at them re­veals that they rely heav­ily on the “il­lit­er­ate/dumb black” stereo­type.

In 2014, it’s still funny that Man­doza can’t speak English “prop­erly” or that Zuma got R939 360 000 wrong in a speech last year.

And much like black­face com­edy, it’s largely funny be­cause it’s still con­sid­ered hi­lar­i­ous when black peo­ple aren’t the ex­cep­tional black and speak “per­fect” English.

English as a sig­ni­fier of in­tel­li­gence is prob­lem­atic. So it’s not funny that the cre­ator of the meme would think Man­doza wouldn’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween an earthquake and a vol­cano, that Zuma wouldn’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween lobola and Ebola and Julius Malema would de­mand a higher Richter scale rat­ing as if it was a wage de­mand.

The memes – and this kind of hu­mour – says a lot about how South Africans view them­selves and black peo­ple.

– Gugulethu Mh­lungu

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