HARARE – Weary of a myriad of incessant problems — cash shortages, high unemployment and political bickering — most Zimbabweans are turning to humour to take their minds off the turmoil in their country.
Rather than whine about the problems bedevilling the country, the nation sees humour in the adversities.
Among the favourite jokes are punch lines about the mediocre and uninspiring national football administration, the menacing rains, electricity outages and petrol queues.
Despite the suffering, the quirky jokes seem to uplift many Zimbabweans’ dampened spirits.
Currently, the Zimbabwean football team — the Warriors — are in Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations tourney which ends on February 5.
So far, the Warriors have not done that well after they drew two-all in their opening match against Algeria, igniting humour among Zimbabweans, who likened the match result to the exchange rate between the United States dollar and the surrogate currency — bond notes.
Bond notes have so far held their value against the US dollar.
Some even went on to conclude that Zimbabwe was a country of “draws”.
“Tsvangirai drew with (President Robert) Mugabe in the 2008 elections,” they said jokingly on social media.
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the March 29, 2008 election but fell short of enough votes to avoid a June run-off, which was won by Mugabe unopposed after Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence and intimidation against his supporters.
“There is no difference between the educated and those who are not as they both are not employed and co-vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko’s match is also a draw game as they alternate to act as presidents when Mugabe is away,” goes one joke.
When the Warriors lost their second match to Senegal, it created another set of jokes.
“Warriors can be hazardous to your health if supported in excess, support with caution.”
A parody of a cigarette advert was also released soon after the team lost to Senegal.
The message was accompanied with a pack of cigarettes, a Zimbabwean flag and a soccer ball.
Others went on to say if the Senegalese team wants to learn about losing, they should come and participate in the country’s elections next year against the ruling Zanu PF party.
This is despite the fact that the loss might send the Warriors back home, yet Zimbabweans still found something to smile about.
Above all this was a picture of a person holding, an insecticide, Doom, pointing it on a television set showing members of the national team.
The insecticide was popularised by a South African pastor who sprayed his congregants with the insecticide, claiming it had healing powers.
Since then, several people have appeared on social media holding the insecticide on the pretext that they are using it to deal with their personal problems.
Some have even gone further to joke around the Warriors’ players’ names such as Costa Nhamoinesu, Elisha Muroiwa and Hardlife Zvirekwi.
The loose translation for Nhamoinesu is ‘‘we are suffering’’ while Muroiwa means ‘‘the cursed one.’’
“How could we have won with such names as Nhamoinesu, Muroiwa and Hardlife, some names give us a curse,” social media sarcastically berated.
“Kudyiwa se mbuva ye Grade One before break,” was one of the jokes that was trending on the social media, which means we were beaten too early.
“If you want Senegal to stop scoring sms STOP to 21341. Senegal can win against us in soccer but their president is younger than ours,” said one of the jokes pertaining to the match.
These are not the only real life examples of trials and tribulations that Zimbabweans have turned into humour.
With the threat of serious floods and the Civil Protection Unit issuing several warnings on the need for people to be cognisant of their terrain and the chances of flooding, several households have been experiencing rising water levels at their premises.
People have joked about this, with some filming themselves in plastic dishes, calling for the government to donate boats to them so that they can be able to take their children to school.
“Those in need of boats must see me, because very soon there will be no commuter omnibuses on the road,” one joked.