Hated it: Mandoza memes

2014-08-17 15:00

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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.

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