By Maynard Manyowa
Internet shaming has become a serious challenge in Zimbabwe. Mostly because at times people are shamed without the real story being known, but lately because a few mischievous and less than human individuals have resorted to creating deliberately false information, making it viral, and then shaming whoever they dislike.
Tazvi Mhaka, his beautiful wife, and the video that never was
A few days ago, we woke up to a huge buzz, if not a bang all around Facebook. It started in some Facebook groups which have a female only policy. But it didn’t take time before images were leaked all over, including a grotesque video.
The posters claimed, the wife of celebrity millionaire Tazvi Mhaka was filmed bedding her gardener. I have never seen people celebrate something as unfortunate as that. But perhaps, and unfortunately, celebrating such a blatant falsehood.
A simple reverse image search on Google (instead of searching using a text query, you upload an image to Google and it searches the web for the source of the image and related information) directs one to a popular adult site called xvideos.
On the site, one quickly realizes the video was shot in the USA, by an amateur adult film actor and his girlfriend. Several other videos, with the same couple are shot sold by the same couple on their private stream.
But one need not go to such lengths. A simple comparative glance at the Mrs Mhaka, and lady in the video will suffice to prove that it is not the same person. Whatever facial similarities are remote, and only an intoxicated person would believe its Mrs Mhaka in the video, and even that would need some keen work.
Thomas Chizhanje, his gracious wife, and the emails that never were
A few weeks ago, something similar transpired. We woke up to sensational claims that emails between Mrs Chizhanje and a co-worker had been leaked. The transcripts were damning, indicating that the lady was allowing her work mate to sample matrimonial delights in the absence of the husband.
The emails were said to have been leaked by a hacker. They spread through several female groups, satire websites, and whatsapp discussion forums. People mocked the celebrity couple left, right, center and behind.
A simple audit of the images however, showed clear differences in text texture, background harmony and lighting. These were photoshopped images. Add to that, the email address used there is not the email address of Mrs Chizhanje. And the header showed the messages had been sent using ‘fake free emails’ – a website tool which allows users to mimic an email address and send an email which appears to have come from a certain user. (Commonly termed phishing)
But in the world of viral lies, and internet shaming, no one cares for integrity of information. Someone deliberately concocted the emails just to cause disharmony between the couple, and obviously make them the subject of shaming.
Ammara Brown, and the porn star with a similar hairstyle who does not look like her
Last night, the entire social media again came to a standstill. Someone was said to have leaked an adult video featuring, celebrity entertainer Ammara Brown. Boy, oh, boy. People went crazy. On whatsapp alone, I must have seen 200 requests from people asking if such content existed.
Well, it didn’t take long for the video and the pictures to arrive. I am sure by now clever readers have seen the trend. It isn’t Ammara Brown in the pictures, nor the video. It is some American adult actress who happened to have the same hairstyle as Ammara when she made the famous Mukoko video.
The lady might be light. The lady might share the same hairstyle. But like Mrs Mhaka, the resemblance is remote. One does not even need to have seen Ammara to notice that the lady is nothing close to a look-a-like. She is much taller, much fatter, and has few facial features that resemble Ms Brown.
A retarded people out of touch with their humanity
Integrity is such a crucial aspect of humanity. Those that are found lacking in this commodity often behave in barbaric ways. It is hard to find any better adjective than this.
It leaves one to wonder what the purpose of these fake videos and emails is? Some have suggested that it is jealous females who want to take over the ‘spouses’ of those they have shamed, and inherit their households and maybe riches.
But such an exercise would be pointless to be stupid. Having been married for over 15 years, Tazvi Mhaka knows his wife better than anyone else. He also knows his house, and his bathroom. He would not have needed a reverse image search. That lady isn’t his wife, and he simply saw the video, and laughed it off, especially the claims, which he rightly called ‘frivolous’
The same goes for Thomas Chizhanje. He could easily tell the emails are fake. One need not be a special kind of idiot to notice that. An average fool could easily see the emails were generated. The same goes for Ammara Brown, and many many others who have fallen victim to these scams to shame.
The desire to see someone shamed has gripped our country like a demon. People are so mentally depraved they hunt such kinds of drama. When they can’t get it, they generate it. They pay no attention to the damage becoming of their actions. They want to see a public figure humiliated.
Those that share such content, without taking time to verify its integrity are also failing the moral test. Whatever shame they dish out to these unfortunate individuals, they are carriers of a more damning shame – one that shows and says “we are worse than humans, we are something other”
When these scandalously scandalous scandals die down. The beauty that made these celebrities who they are, as their monies, will remain intact. Those that made and partaked will remain as they are: on the frills of humanity, sense, and reason.
- Maynard Manyowa is a contributing editor on Khuluma Afrika – a center for political analysis, social commentary and investigative journalism.