Home » General » Wishing You a Really Kikikikiki Christmas

Harold Wilson once noted that “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” Like Dambudzo Marechera who said “I am against war and those against war,” I am against change and those against change. I am against walking when I can drive. I am against driving because of the effects of carbon on the ozone layer. Besides, I don’t like the anarchy that comes with certain types of change.

I am disturbed by our use of technology to film and share harm and violence.

While it is possible that the film footage from the incident where a young woman was undressed and dehumanised by touts in Harare can be used to identify and arrest the culprits, I doubt that identification and arrest were the intentions of the guy who was filming.

Then, when some folk watched the traumatising video of the girl being hounded by the touts, they reacted by saying kikikiki! Kikikikiki or kkkkkkk means I am laughing, or you made me laugh or I enjoyed your message or video and it’s funny.

What have we become when we applaud tragedy?

Are we not killing something in ourselves and other people in the process?

Grief, which is a result of the death or the loss of something, is not worth celebrating. Too many things will happen this Christmas, but let us be civil and not evil.

Let us exercise restraint when filming events on our smartphones and tablets. What happened to the spirit of hunhuubuntu which says munhu munhu nevanhuumuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. Communication technologies and applications like WhatsApp are making us unemotional and robotic, and our kikikiki laughter is artificial!

I am not against mobile phones and applications like WhatsApp because they are dynamic ways of communicating, and besides who am I to blow against the wind. What I dislike are the bizarre things that mobile phones and applications like WhatsApp are being used for.

In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp is re-inventing relationships, exposing affairs and destroying marriages – and being used to make public some very private and personal moments.

One such case being a video of a woman who was captured wailing in front of her husband’s family, begging for forgiveness because she was being divorced for cheating.

She had suffered loss already and filming her pain and publicising it was uncivilised. Let him without sin cast the first stone! WhatsApp is now claiming its stake as a newsmaker, and is also setting the agenda for us.

The introduction of new coins by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been received with mixed feelings.

Someone created a message to coincide with the public use of the coins and used a picture of a man who is expressing the most heart-rending pain to aid their joke which says – Kudzosa Zim dollar here varume? Whatever it is that the man captured in that picture was experiencing, it is something that anybody with a heart should respect and avoid making light the emotional catharsis.

It is not helpful to sell other people’s pain and grief so cheaply.

While it is true that nhamo yemumwe hairambirwe sadza, it is also true that muroyi munhuwo, kumurova anochema!

I have also noticed that the WhatsApp status space has become something like a graffiti wall where people express themselves – their anger, their joy, hope, confusion, religion and philosophy. WhatsApp, just like Facebook is becoming a source of pride because people post status updates to promote themselves.

I will not even talk about the amount of productive time that is wasted on WhatsApp and Facebook.

One shop attendant kept me and other customers waiting while she was sending a WhatsApp message.

Yet, according to Wikipedia, as of October 2014, WhatsApp was the most globally popular messaging application with more than 600 million users, with India alone boasting a user base of more than 70 million.

My family has a WhatsApp group and I have noticed that one of my sister’s WhatsApp status changes frequently.

The messages and pictures on her status seem to be outbursts or emotional discharges. The status message she currently has says, “Muri seiko vekusvotwa neni . . . ?” As a poet and writer, I take special notice of words and their meaning. As someone once said, “In the beginning was the word, be careful with words.” Besides my love for words and meaning, I also find inspiration to write from very strange things that most people take for granted.

I have seen people who, like my sister have very strange WhatsApp profile pictures and statements. Some are so out of character when you consider the person who would have created them.

Some reveal bottled up anger, conflict that is within an individual, celebration, showing off, religious beliefs and even cultural pride expressed through totems and clan praise poetry.

Yet, what is also a peculiar usage of the status on WhatsApp is the reinventing of bembera, which is a traditional way of communicating by steaming off in a confrontational way.

Bembera were words – in most cases veiled threats that were not directed at any particular person. Such words were uttered in public in order to challenge or alert someone to stop a particular behaviour that was upsetting the speaker.

Generally, the Shona people valued living together in peace and harmony and where there was conflict, the use of bembera was a way to vent anger and annoyance with the hope that the aggressor would realise the problems they were causing and behave appropriately.

I take the confrontational language on my sister’s status on WhatsApp to be a form of bembera. Last month, her status was, “Chero zvikaita basa, zvine basa rei?” And now she has this one, “Muri seiko vekusvotwa neni . . . ?” WhatsApp seems to be offering some kind of space for freedom of expression. There are also status messages that just make you laugh or want to probe the person to elaborate on their statements. Here are a few statements that have caught my eye on the statuses of my friends:

Usaedze kutakura mvura netswanda

My God fetches water with a basket

Mwari vangu havadhakwe

I am not a complete idiot, some parts are missing

Haaa yaas zvimwe zvinhu soooka

Usatuke mvuu usati wabira mhiri

Mazuva ano ndiri munhu kwaye fani!

Mamuka sei vane godo?

Even danger knows that I am dangerous

Usazonhanikira zvakanhanikirwa nanhingirikiri kuonini

New media have successfully enabled people to swiftly pass on information.

It could be pictures or videos of a road accident that has just happened. That information may be addressed to individuals, yet it goes on to reach and affect very large sections of society other than the targeted individuals.

WhatsApp thrives on a multiplier effect whereby if one receives some “interesting” piece of information, they pass it on to others and so on and so on.

Not only do social media tell society about contemporary attitudes, but most importantly they give some individuals a voice to assert who they are or to inform the world about their state of mind.

New media afford individuals a chance to bring the private into the public. A lot of the people I know love WhatsApp because it enables them to share jokes, to share videos and images about happenings in other parts of the world.

Churches and church assemblies have formed groups to share the gospel, encourage and strengthen each other in Christ. Some families have also formed groups as a way of staying in touch and updating each other about things happening in their lives.

I have seen one such useful group being effective when my sister had to be in hospital for more than five months with her daughter. The WhatsApp group became a very useful source for information sharing and support. The hospital loneliness was eased by different kinds of conversations laced with jokes, motivation and prayers.

The private is becoming public through technology, but I believe that no matter how liberating new technology is, we should not lose our heads for whatever reason because some relations are going to be permanently altered because of WhatsApp. I hope that this Christmas you will find time to talk and not text, to laugh with real people and not to kikikikiki because the reason we celebrate Christmas is because we believe that it is around this time that God loved the world that He did not send mere information, but instead He gave himself. Have a real kikikiki merry Christmas.

Source : The Herald

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