Light-hearted take at de­bil­i­tat­ing virus

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - P2A0-2E0F,En­ear SAKHILE NDLAZI [email protected]

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.

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