#: As the year winds down, we look at the year through the lens of the hashtag. We definitely could not exhaust them all so Grace Kenganzi sampled a few from the year.
The year started with the #10YearChallenge. This trend started with international celebrities sharing a photo of themselves from 2009 next to a 2019 one. The goal, apart from a little bit of vanity, was to see how much people have changed over the decade. The not-so-challenging challenge also trended under the tags, #GlowUpChallenge if indeed it was a glow up, and #HowHardDidAgingHitYou for those to whom age had done a number on. One thing was clear from most of the photos –filters and photoshop are real. Just when it was all fun and games, a rumour started that the challenge was a way for Facebook to gather information about people. While this scared some, others were safe in the knowledge that they are not interesting enough for Facebook to care. For Sqoop, the challenge was special since we turned 10 this year.
One day people started posting their photos with the hashtag #Omubwati. For a while, a few of us assumed the phrase meant something along the lines, “the great one or the excellent one”. Then we heard Fik Fameica and Patoranking’s Omu Bwati and realised that it was actually two words loosely translated as, “one and only”. Its usage has not waned with the year. In fact some people are only just getting to learn what the word means. How and when do you use it? It appears that it can be used on any photo you deem dope enough to have it. Even if it is a photo of yourself. No one will accuse you of vanity.
Kasukali keko oba nyongelemu? If you have not come across this phrase, check your friends. Otherwise our friends have been serving us tea in different ways and asking us if the sugar is enough, all year round. This tea can be a photo of someone looking like they are living their best life. One confirming the hot gossip of the moment. A meme revealing some bitter truth we all do not want to face, or some other event that is just the tea. It looks like this phrase is following us into 2020. It comes in handy, especially when trying to provoke people.
It started with a tweet. A young man carrying a metallic suitcase and a plastic bag on his first day at Makerere University. The tweet was delivered in the way a misdirected child would point and laugh at their schoolmate for showing up to school in last, last season’s school shoes. Fortunately, the tweet was received with the compassion it deserved. People were quick to call out the tweet on its tastelessness. Soon the young man was identified as Henry Suubi Kiyimba. He started trending, fittingly, as #Suubi, which means hope. Companies and individuals offered him money, clothes, phones, passes to shows and so on. But the most outstanding was him getting to do the course of his choice, engineering, thanks to the generosity of several people. This was one of the most beautiful social media trends. We hope Suubi’s first year went splendidly. When is Muk’s open day and we go check his results?
The Parte After Parte anthem might have caught fire in the second half of the year but it feels like we have always had it with us. It became popular as a funny clip played over some guys dancing at a village party. Then it turned out to be a song by Big Trill. No song encompasses Ugandans’ party spirit at the moment like Parte After Parte. The song aside, the phrase is a lifestyle too. It captures our ability to have a party even in the midst of hard times. No negative vibes for Ugandans, just #ParteAfterParte. The anthem has spread out of Uganda with international celebrities like Cardi B and Offset posting videos of themselves jamming to the hit.
After waiting an entire year for the last season of Game of Thrones, of course the fomo was high. This time, however, even the people with #jomo –the joy of missing out were talking about #GOT. They wanted the world to know that they had never watched an episode. The memes about being in the one per cent that had never watched an episode of the series went around as fast as the teaser posters of the show. These #jomo people even had tees made. Of course #GOT fans were unphased. They replied with memes about how saying you have never watched the show is not a sign of maturity. Then they went on to speak and post using #GOT lingual. Many were a girl for months, talking about themselves in third person. Sersei’s “power is power” became a meme. People compared their friends to Jon Snow when said friends exhibited signs of ignorance. The fire flame emoji got replaced by ‘dracarys!’ gifs. #GOT merch was the deal. Eh! We really had #GOT fever. Then the series aired and reduced all our hopes and dreams to ashes.
This is the meme that keeps giving. We have all seen it around since May at least, but for some reason, in the last quarter of the year, the meme has taken on a life of its own. You know the one we are talking about. The one with an angry woman yelling at a cat, we now know is Smudge. In the meme, the woman is yelling something to which the cat claps back in a calm, smug demeanour. The angry woman is actually Taylor Armstrong from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and the shot in the meme is a screen grab of her in a heated argument with one of her fellow housewives. Smudge on the other hand is now a meme Lord with 1.4 million followers on Instagram. His gimmick is sitting at the table and scowling at his vegetables, which he hates a lot.
There have been seemingly endless variations to this meme. From the woman yelling, “you said this would be my year!” to which the cat replies, “I said tell your neighbour”. To the cat saying, “Merry Christmas” and the woman yelling in reply, “It is November!” To conversations that are too salty to be repeated on these pages. For one, someone created a meme where the cat becomes a meal –funny but a little disturbing. Our best variation was the one where Chuck Norris tells the cat, “no” and the cat replies, “Okay, I’ve stopped”. Because Chuck Norris is bad like that.
Technically, this one started trending at the end of 2018. But since it went viral just as we capped the year, it is safe to include it on this year’s list. In the lead up to MC Kats’ King of the Mic show on December 28, people started trolling him on social media over his age. The emcee, whose real name is Edwin Katamba, was photoshopped into pictures of Jesus and his disciples as one of the disciples. In another photo, he featured in Kabaka Mwanga’s court. In another, he was one of the people on the street when Uganda got her independence. Other posts did not include photos but the message was the same –MC Kats is old! One tweet placed him with Vasco da Gama when the explorer came upon the East African coast. Trolling aside, this was good publicity for his event and it gave us some good laughs.
In March, former state minister for ICT Ida Nantaba was involved in an incident in Mukono, where a one Ssebulime was killed. Sad stuff, right? Not for too long. Shortly after, the former minister gave an account of what transpired. How she delivered the account turned the matter into memes and gifs. The line, “His refuses to stop and instead pretends as thou he is going to park on the side of the road” was what turned this into a source of jokes. Jokes about how she was speaking KJV English. For days, social media content was thus delivered as thou it was meant for old English audiences.
This year, we have been in the habit of putting salt in people’s wounds by asking the question, “or you can explain?” From asking bae-less people whether their baes look at them as lovingly as the ones in a certain photo. To putting people on the spot about hitting their targets, we have really made people see their lives with this question. Many have decided to forego giving explanations and claimed the Lord as their shepherd.
#FreshKid, aka #Bambi
In March, a seven-year-old caught our attention with his mad flow skills. Dude delivered his lines with the skill of a person who has seen a lot of the world and has something to say about it. The boy we now know as Fresh Kid, real name Patrick Ssenyonjo, was playing in our WhatsApp groups and via short clips on social media. This was after making an appearance at a nighttime comedy show. His appearance at nighttime shows coupled with his imitation of ‘ghetto yut’ soon got Minister Florence Nakiwala banning him from performing. Many petitioned the minister on his behalf, pointing out that his talent needed to be nurtured not tapered. His song, Bambi, was a fitting soundtrack to those pleas. The minister met Fresh Kid and he went on to become a star.
His father, Paul Mutabazi got his own moment in the spotlight. A video of him thanking people for supporting his son went viral. But what made it popular was the hand gestures he made coupled with the intonation. For a while, #FreshDaddyChallenge became a thing. Then people moved on.
#Weyayu, aka #Semyekozo, aka #LoveNigga*
Just as we were getting over the surprise of a new man visiting Rema’s home, Eddy Kenzo served us fodder for laughs. During the Kukyala, a cleric said very unflattering things about the artiste, referring to him as a “love nigga” and a “semyekozo”, among other things. Dude was so hurt that he took to social media to complain, more like whine but let’s be nice and say complain. He asked where the government was to intervene on his behalf for being insulted. “Gavumenti, weyayu?” he asked. Trust Ugandans to jump on this and turn it into comedy. Before we could blink, people had tees with the words, “Gavumenti weyayu?” or just, “Weyayu?” The term is now part of common speak vocab on social media.
Meanwhile, men who have not yet committed to relationships have been branded semyekozos. Not one to let an opportunity pass him by, and in Taylor Swift and Adele style, Kenzo turned his pain into art and released Semyekozo.
We were minding our business in the wake of the #Asfas, zooming in the gowns and analysing the quality of people’s copper girl when we got wind of a kind request. The request was from social media influencer, Bettinah, asking people not to share her photos from the Asfas. Of course that only made us curious about the photos. That is when we discovered why she had made the request. A case of angling and bad photo direction had led to a photo that became trolling fodder for the netizens. Peeps compared her to a body builder, complete with side by side photos. Bettinah was unfazed and went on to ask that no paparazzi take her photos during the Blankets and Wine event. Hate or love her, girl knows how to keep her head up.
That said, it is safe to say that social media has had no chills this year… mpozi OTT was supposed to put an end to all this madness? Lol.