Light-hearted take at debilitating virus
ONE THING South Africans know how to do well despite the fact that the situation is dire is to poke fun and joke to keep things a bit light-hearted.
Nowhere else in the world do people laugh in the face of trauma like South Africans – call it a coping mechanism.
After the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in the country two weeks ago, jokes started making the rounds.
From memes featuring prominent politicians to bad puns and video clips and pictures of people posing with hilarious face masks, the jokes had social media platforms abuzz.
Certain products associated with coronavirus have become memes, most notably face masks.
What takes the cake is the infamous coronavirus dance.
The footage, shot in a nightclub at an undisclosed location this week, has piqued all kinds of interest, and the #CoronavirusChallengeleft has treated users to chaotic scenes.
Basic steps to the move include covering your mouth with one hand, pointing the other in the air, waggling the finger and chanting “corona” to whichever music is playing.
Why is humour so often the first port of call when South African media users find themselves in stormy seas?
In his landmark article, historian and human rights activist Stephen Ellis defines this form of communication as the popular and unofficial discussion of current affairs.
Corruption in post-apartheid South Africa has not done much to improve citizens’ respect for official narratives.
Unfortunately, jokes and satire can spread misinformation, as audiences don’t always know what information to trust and what to just laugh about.
This is a cause for concern in the light of the Covid-19 epidemic, which is why it is important to take popular culture seriously.