When the ubiquitous “Shit (People) Say” meme was still popular, and after seeing the genuinely funny Shit Nigerians Say video, I thought about making a video myself about shit South Africans say. Then I saw that someone had beaten me to it. Watching it, I literally laughed out loud, but for all the wrong reasons. The rest of the time I was mostly just cringing.
The most obvious critique (besides the fact that there is almost no comedic or satirical value) is that the video is called “Shit South Africans Say” and yet it should have been called “Shit some English-speaking White South Africans say.” The only Black guy in the video is the one who the lead male character said was “checking him skeef” (that is, looked at him funny).
This blatant error would have been forgiveable if it wasn’t made by an actual commercial production company, Mercury Productions, whose clients include Levis, Coca Cola and The City of Copenhagen. Surely they could have come up with something that was a little more representative and funny. If not, they could have at least named the video in a way that doesn’t propose that all South Africans sound like a relatively small portion portion of the population. Somebody should let Mercury Productions know that there are Black people in South Africa too (besides the “bergies” or homeless people they refer to in the video). South African film has a long history of exclusion, and it’s really frustrating to see this being carried forward into the Youtube age. But then this is South Africa.
However, I found this low-fi DIY video made by two young girls who call themselves KK and MM. Despite the poor production values, it’s a lot funnier, and way more genuine. It’s also a lot more aware of shared South African experiences that cross race and class barriers. There is still hope: