Laughter is said to be the best medicine and South Africans love to take their dose every day which is why short-form mobile video platform, TikTok, has continued to grow in popularity amongst locals.

Instead of its content focusing purely on traditional comedic skits, TikTok has taken its entertainment up a notch by providing a platform where creating videos based on popular memes is a huge part of users’ experience.In the past TikTok has mainly been associated with dancing trends, however, the platform is now home to a variety of viral content and of late has especially taken hold ofthe meme space. Meme culture has grown so rapidly on TikTok compared to social platforms because of the global audience a video has the potential of reaching which in turn increases the possibility of that video going viral.Some of the most viral global meme videos include:

#dontleaveme

@iconiccpinkkTake me with you ##foryou ##dontleaveme ##dontleavemechallenge♬ original sound – Munera

#DNATest

@kat.slovakOmg I’m AFRICAN♬ #100%African – Dance Africa

#Haribochallenge

@davidkasprakover 200 Haribos singing  ##haribochallenge ##haribo ##adele##concert♬ #Me at the concert- aimee

So what is a meme?

Memes are described as cultural shorthand with original ideas being replicated, altered or built upon to evolve into something else that fits into the context within which it’s being shared.Boniswa Sidwaba, TikTok Content Operations Manager, Africa, says TikTok has been a breeding ground for dozens of clever, funny videos that have turned into memes. “The platform’s innovative tools and special effects enable users to create powerful storytelling scenes based on a specific topic or relatable hashtags.”A few good local examples include challenges like

#africancheck

#Dameschallenge

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#Amapianoislife

Memes culture in South Africa

Considering the multitude of serious issues that face South Africans on daily basis, locals have always found a way to look on the bright side of life. This is most prevalent online where anything from local issues like load shedding to political or celebrity news is turned into a humorous moment.People then take these moments and turn them into memes which are shared rapidly across social platforms. Memes play an important role in entertaining South Africans of all ethnicities and cultures because they are easily created and relatable.Meme culture has grown so big that there are several hashtags dedicated to memes on TikTok – the most popular hashtag for South Africa being #mzansimemes with more than 50M views while on the global platform #memes has over 42 billion views.Locally, popular memes include content around:

lockdown,

devonbroughtonThat’s really how it’s going to be  ##lockdownlevel3 ##mzansimemes ##boys ##partyoriginal sound – Cillian Hughes

wearing a mask during COVID,

@anzel.dewetSouth Africans have a sense hamour too creds :@im4nimorevati ##proudlysouthafrican ##mzansimemes ##heritagemonth ##comedy ##justforlaughs ##memes♬ The Time Is Now (John Cena) – WWE & John Cena & Tha Trademarc

load shedding

@zayaan4The show will be called ‘Uyabona na:In the dark edition’ ##zayaanvids ##uyajola99 ##mzansicomedy ##comedy ##eskom ##loadshedding original sound – ZayaanFour