Accepted paper:

Of 'erections' & 'wake up and brew beer': Understanding the 'Zimbabwean situation' through humor.


Umali Saidi (Midlands State University)

Paper short abstract:

Zimbabweans are facing 'unresolved' economic challenges and humor is being used as a reaction. Disseminated via the social media, humorous comments are being used to characterize their condition. Humor has been appropriated as a mechanism to share experiences and to reveal concealed feelings.

Paper long abstract:

Given the social effects Zimbabweans are facing against the 'unresolved' political and economic challenges, one wonders how they make it into the next day. Apart from a number of ways employed by the populace to deal with the myriad economic challenges, humor is one of the systems observable. Disseminated via the social media, humorous comments as well as responses to stances taken by the government in assuring the nation of better days, Zimbabweans have found it (humor) as an outlet to express and characterize their condition. This paper argues that humor has readily been appropriated as a mechanism not only to share their experiences but to reveal pent up and concealed feelings which they find difficult to express through the 'seriousness' it may deserve. Further, the paper demonstrates that, the social media platform has also humorously allowed exchange of information and basic information dissemination in a country whose laws may have one incarcerated for reacting 'undesirably' to the political order of the day. The paper seeks to submit that the Zimbabwean situation can also be understood through studying the satiric images, audio-visual clips, cartoons as well as excerpts from various documents and platforms. Further, the paper shows that humor has a forceful and robust place in Zimbabwean discourses.

panel Lang02
Limits and prospects of African humour