What is a Meme?

A meme (pronounced mi:m) is “an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means,” explained one online based lexicographer when I raised the subject.

“An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations,” blurted the second.

For the uninitiated, lexicographers are people who make dictionaries happen.

Why this subject at this particular time? Well, because it’s simply meme season, I’m afraid. We call it meme season when that one singular individual who personifies the concept of memes is in the world wide news.


My favourite Robert Mugabe meme goes something along these lines:

It is directed at those dudes who be there with a secret crush on some fly girl that is way out of his range, so off they go with their desperado to said girl’s Facebook wall.

“You are there posting wow, wow, wow, wow on a girl’s Facebook wall, are you an ambulance?”

But memes are not something new at all.

Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, teacher, editor and politician lived between 551 BC and 479 BC.

We all know that BC is an acronym for “Before Christ”, and whenever you see it in use, just know for a fact that the subject in question happened/existed well more than 2000 years ago.

Confucius lived such a long time ago, but to this day, clever students of his humour-tinged philosophical utterances still create memes in his honour.

Confucius’s profound utterances typically made wide use of jokes, puns and humour, and a literary device known as the double entendre.

Double entendre refers to the practice of packing two parallel meanings in a single sentence and this was a hallmark of Confucian scribbling and utterances.

This is the spirit and form that Confucius memes have continued to espouse, thousands of years after his death.

“A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it’s two-tyred”, is another of my favourite Confucius memes.

So what is your all-time favourite Mugabe meme, now that he is the man in the news and may not be going away anytime soon?

Well, at least everyone knows the one that goes;

Sometimes you look back at girls you spent money on rather than send it to your mum and you realize witchcraft is real.