Humourizing COVID-19: An analysis of internet memes on coronavirus pandemic

Bimbo Fafowora*, Mistura Adebusola Salaudeen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From the outbreak of coronavirus, to the institution of quarantine/lockdown, to the implementation of social distancing, digital media platforms have been agog with memes associated with COVID-19 and pandemic-induced policies. Hence, there is a need to understand how the digital community discuss the pandemic through internet memes. Furthermore, there is a dearth of scholarship in health communication research, focusing on the use of internet memes in discussing public health crisis. This study fills this void by exploring the themes that appear in coronavirus-related memes and investigating the discursive strategies applied to portray the pandemic. A qualitative analysis of 170 COVID-19-related memes, randomly selected from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, revealed the prevalence of six over-arching themes. It was observed that the memes employ a combination of humour, non-humour, and sarcasm in driving awareness about the pandemic and drawing attention to existing but less-discussed socio-political and socio-economic issues that are made apparent by the recent health crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of African Media Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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