EDITORIAL | Jokes aside, Saffers show their true colours in a crisis
We enjoy a good prank and a funny meme, but in times such as these South Africans rally behind one another
An elderly woman once fell off a bicycle while playfully riding around the garden with her grandchildren. The two girls laughed out loud at their grandmother’s fall. Their highly upset mother scolded them but the uninjured 70-something woman was quick to stop her: “If children laugh at your fall, it means they don’t consider you to be old. If they had gasped in shock, I would have felt terribly old.”
This brings to mind the #maskchallenge and memes that emerged on social media not even hours after President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation about the Covid-19 lockdown measures last week. Ramaphosa was caught on camera for a few moments clumsily battling to put his mask on. South Africans were swift and fatally funny in their response. Forgotten were the contents of Ramaphosa’s speech; the mask jokes started flooding in. In between the wisecracks, there were some serious comments defending Ramaphosa with words such as, “you are tired and stressed, my president, but you’re able to give us hope and leadership”.
Just as some started wondering if the jokes were slightly disrespectful, Ramaphosa himself jumped in, signalling all was okay. The following day, while visiting quarantine facilities, he promised with a huge smile, “for those who are laughing at me, I am going to open a TV channel where I’m going to teach people how to put on a mask”. ..