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What’s in a Name: Social Media Viral Words, Memes and Names

Harare – A mere mention of words and names such as Bond notes, Cash crisis, Donald Trump, TB Joshua, quail birds, corruption, Evan Mawarir...

Harare – A mere mention of words and names such as Bond notes, Cash crisis, Donald Trump, TB Joshua, quail birds, corruption, Evan Mawarire, #ThisFlag and Sifiso Ncwane sent the cyberspace abuzz.

The cash crisis bedeviling Zimbabwe for a while made worldwide headlines, while Pastor Evan Mawarire became an instant sensation with his #ThisFlag campaign that became viral.

Bond notes
After teetering for a while, the apex bank, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe finally released the first batch of a surrogate currency of Bond notes on the market on November 28, worth US$10 million.

Meant to spruce falling exports, the release was shrouded in controversy with demonstrations engulfing Harare as citizens resisted the intended move.

“The issue is about the economy and not bond notes. Zimbabwe is facing many challenges including current account deficit, lack of fiscal space and lack of access to foreign currency…,” proposed RBZ governor, John Mangudya.
Pastor Evan Mawarire Appears at Police Station  

Citizens voiced their skepticism regarding bond notes. Their legality has been challenged in courts, while parliament debates a bill to accommodate the proxy currency.

“It is important to note that bond notes are not supposed to cure all the economic challenges Zimbabwe’s economy is facing, but largely to provide a monetary instrument to deal with externalisation and cash shortages,” commented Gwanyanya, the economist.

As of writing, the cash shortage still persists.

Donald Trump
There is a controversial link between Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua aka TB Joshua and Donald Trump – they both command a huge following and ushered social media into hysteria with their recent actions.

Few anticipated Donald Trump to win the US elections in 2016 – and so did Nigerian TB Joshua, who is celebrated for predicting events that have come to pass in recent times.

In 2012, TB Joshua predicted the death of Bingu Mutharika, the President of Malawi at the time. As foretold, Mutharika died within the time frame predicted by TB Joshua, causing his fame to spread rapidly.

In late 2016, the known prophet predicted victory for Hillary Clinton – but had to diplomatically withdraw his prophecy, saying: “We are not the same in the spirit.” Will 2017 be a good yet for his prolific prophecies?

Though not in the margins of Willogate scandal, the abuse of Zimdef funds to propel personal agendas by public officials ignited the debate about the state readiness to halt corruption.

Higher education minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo is allegedly to have diverted US$400 000 meant for students. He is still to appear before the courts as the anticorruption unit dithers once again.

Land barons have also caused mayhem for parceling private and state land. Saviour Kasukuwere, minister of local government was fingered by the president for such ills involving Prophet Walter Magaya.

Flinching desperate home seekers has become a hobby for some like Fredrick Mabamba, a known land baron who has appeared in court to answer various charges. Sadly, with all the noise, a handful of prominent figures have been mentioned in corruption cases, yet the vice is widespread.

Human trafficking
Faced with a dire economy back home, about 200 Zimbabwean women were trafficked to Kuwait and later became sex slaves. For one lady, going to Kuwait was a breakthrough she desperately needed, but what followed was horrific.

“We are not being given enough food here and we are harassed and beaten all the time. As we speak, my leg is broken but I’m not receiving any medical attention because we are always locked up,” she said.

A message sent by Andre Baba seeking US$3 000 as bounty exposed their ordeal.

“Your sister cannot come home, no one can help her, and (the) Zimbabwean Embassy cannot help because the law here says she has to go to jail so you have to pay. It’s either you pay the money or she goes back to work or to jail.”

With their phones and passports ceased, the women became slaves, working long hours with little food. The majority were later saved by government to return home.

Water shortages
The World Bank says, “For poor countries that have always faced hydrologic variability, climate change will make water security even more difficult and costly to achieve.

“Climate change may also reintroduce water security challenges in countries that for a hundred years have enjoyed reliable water supplies and few, if any, water shocks.”

Southern African region has not been spared by persistent water deficiencies. Seasons are changing with hotter dry seasons and colder winters anticipated.

Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa are on red alert as water shortages are predicted to persist beyond 2020. Kariba dam, a hydroelectric source shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia is drying up, upsetting power generation causing more power cuts.

This trend has birthed ‘waterpreneurs’ – certified water merchant who draws water from public boreholes for resale at a prime price. Water borne diseases are on the rise, with hundreds of typhoid cases reported in Harare.

“Demand management has always been existence, but now people should use water even more sparingly because there is very little water available. Our water production is failing to meet demand,” warned Michael Chideme, Harare City spokesperson.

Quail birds
Quail birds boom was predicted by Apostle Pride Sibiya at the onset of 2016, saying “poultry industry was set for growth.”

What followed was a craze never witnessed before. Quail meat and eggs retailed for a fortune, with a single bird fetching US$6, much more than chickens.

Their fame fuelled by claims that their ‘highly nutritious content cured insomnia, cancer, HIV and even boost the immune system’ – among other ailments.

Zimbabwe Quail Farmers Trust (ZQFT) leader, Campion Mutarisi confirmed farmers who embarked on the venture earlier had reaped big financial rewards, while social media memes, jokes and adverts went viral before the obsession finally subsided.

National pledge
Dr Lazarus Dokora is a man who attracts controversy. The minister of education introduced the national schools pledge, e-enrollment among other debatable policies.

Various religious groups debated his moves. His stance was it helped students to ‘inculcate national allegiance to the country.’ Street marches and protests attacked the pledge – but after wide consultations, it was finally embraced.

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