Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
4 minute read
9 Jun 2022
7:58 am

WATCH: Five times Ramaphosa was South Africa’s meme king

Narissa Subramoney

Ramaphosa is often the subject of hilarious digitally manipulated content or internet meme gold that will live on in cyberspace forever.

Ramaphosa has become a regular internet meme. Picture - edited by Narissa Subramoney.

Being a president in the digital era means world leaders of today can leverage the power of the internet to communicate directly with the public without the filter of traditional media.

Politicians have in the past two decades enjoyed various advantages social media offers to make meaningful connections with the electorate. What makes social media unique is the scale, speed, and minimal cost at which leaders can communicate with their supporters.

Social media is used by billions of people around the world and has fast become one of the most defining technologies of our time.

By 2019, Facebook reported having 2.38 billion monthly active users and 1.56 billion daily active users. Globally, the total number of social media users is estimated at 3.29 billion users in 2022, which makes up roughly 42.3% of the world’s population (eMarketer 2018).

Given the massive potential audience available who are spending many hours a day using social media across the various platforms, it is not surprising that leaders have embraced social media as a marketing channel. 

Our own president has managed to leverage this tool to target his audience with precision and receive almost immediate feedback. Case in point, the cancelled R22 million flag.

@zumaclips Sanity has prevailed. Ramaphosa has told Mthethwa to cancel the R22 mil flag. #SAFlag #ramaphosa ♬ original sound – ZumaClips

But, Cyril Ramaphosa, while seemingly tech-savvy, is often the subject of hilarious digitally manipulated content or internet meme gold that will live on in cyberspace long after his tenure at the Union Buildings is concluded.

South Africans have displayed nothing short of masterful digital craftsmanship when it comes to recreating Ramaphosa memes.

Here are five of the funniest Ramaphosa meme videos on the internet.

5) Ramaphosa’s missing iPad

In June last year, the missing 1st iPad nearly derailed an address at an event marking the establishment of the National Ports Authority as an independent subsidiary of Transnet.
News and live streams of the president looking for his iPad before the impending address quickly went viral, prompting two music remixes and hundreds of spin off ‘missing iPad challenge’ videos. Here’s the original clip:

@nathi_zuma #cyrilramaphosa #anc #capetownsouthafrica ♬ original sound – user4907069347896

4) Cyril’s mask-on-mask-off moment

He may be the head of state, but he had South Africa in stitches, moments after announcing the Covid-19 pandemic had reached our shores and delivering grim news about a 21-day lockdown that would follow. Ramaphosa’s comical demonstration in mask wearing lightened the otherwise sombre announcement.

@casspernyovest Whoever who gave the President this mask without showing him how to wear it must be arrested. Le etsang ka papa wa rona ? #cyrilramaphosa ♬ original sound – R.M Phoolo

3) Cyril, trotters and beans curry and the Thunee game

Indian comedian Stanton Govender regularly features edited clips of the president in his videos, but this is hands down some of the finest video editing on his timeline. Govender’s masterful weaving of politics, popular Indian cuisines and card games makes for an entertaining, and close to home satire, especially if you live in KZN.

@the_frankenstan #tiktoksa #justforlaughs ♬ original sound – Frankenstan

2) Ramaphosa’s take on the #bussitchallenge 

If you are not a regular on Tiktok, the #bussitchallenge is a glammed up before-and-after video edit. Millions of people around the globe uploaded videos showing themselves looking frumpy, or plain before shot, before cutting to a more suave, elegant after shot. In the after shot, most women participating in the video challenge dropped to a provocative, squat pose, while looking sultry for the camera.


Meh thought I’d hop on the trend

♬ Buss It – Erica Banks

Like everything on the short video clip app, the music is what defines the challenge. And this challenge featuring Nelly’s 90’s hit song Hot in Here spurred a whole mix with Erica Bank’s Buss it in 2020.
Dancing presidents are a common feature of SA politics, but this has to be best yet.

@asianguy.420 #southafrica #bussitchallenge #tiktoksouthafrica #southafricatiktok #Viral #trending #fyp #foryou #Durban #cyrilramaphosa #mzansi #SA ♬ Buss It – Erica Banks

2) Ramphosa filtered

Snapchat and Tiktok camera filters have taken remaking yourself to a whole new level. The craze is not lost on creators who figured out they can also give the president a makeover, even while he addresses important matters of state on-air.

1) Ramphosa the drama queen

Over the past two years, South Africans experienced a different sort of whiplash, that is each time the country moved between the various levels of lockdown, alcohol bans and stages of load shedding. The dreaded ‘family meetings’ spurred several of these types of meme videos, but this one is arguably the funniest.

@kabelo_online Ramaphosa after taking us to Lockdown Level 3 tomorrow ???? #viral #funny #tiktoksouthafrica #southafrica #covid19 ♬ original sound – Kabelo Online

NOW WATCH: Inside Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala’s game farm