My mother is on facebook

Dear Mark Elliot Zuckerberg

I am writing to you not to complain but just to give you an idea of what you started with this FB (facebook) thing of yours. It was all cool at first. I send you a friend request, you accept it, you write on my wall, I write on your wall, we post status updates, we comment on each other’s statuses, we start groups, we upload photos, we send links, we poke each other…you know, that kind of thing.

Then one day I got a friend request from a lady called Nomalanga “Pinky Pinks” Ncube aka, my mother. I must let you know that down here, (because everyone says down here when they talk about Africa), FB is still a novelty, not to us, but to our parents. I swear it’s like they all got a memo telling them about this new thing.

It just seems to me that the media is becoming so invasive. I will give you an example. When I refused the friend request from Pinky, I got home and was given the worst chewing out ever by my mother. I promptly proceeded to accept her friend request. And here I was thinking I was free to accept or not accept people as friends on FB.

It only took a day for this decision to be confirmed as an ill thought one. I logged in to my account to find that someone called Pinky had uploaded some photos and tagged me in all of them. I was further angered to learn that all these were my baby photos, the majority of which featured a naked me. Pretty cute or pretty embarrassing depending on which side of 50 you stand (in terms of age). I mean, really I didn’t upload any pictures of her naked on my FB.

Now, although people my mother’s age are becoming computer literate they are known to have lapses in concentration when it comes to using certain gadgets (yes, she refers to FB as a gadget). I won’t go into detail but let’s just say it took her a while to figure out that everyone could read the stuff she posted on my wall.

In pre-school I was very short (I still am). And as kids are known to do, I got bullied quite a lot. My mother would come to the school and throw a fit in my defence. Now that I’m older I thought those days were gone but oh no, since she became my friend’’ she jumps to my defence whenever anyone disagrees with any comments that I make on FB.

Where are those ‘cultured’ African women with long dresses when you need them? They should be right there telling her how on page 53 of “How to be African: Women are also from Mars” it says that it is against our culture for a woman her age to join facebook. How it says single women her age should be doing more productive things like knitting endless supplies of scarves or selling Tupperware. How it says that, at her age, she has no right to live her life and call herself ‘Pinky’. How she has no right to pick up the pieces of a life left in that state mostly by a father who I barely know. Oh by the way…it was father’s day yesterday.

I admit, facebook has changed the way people communicate especially here in Africa. Not everyone has access to the internet on a laptop like you do Mark but most people have cell phones that can access facebook in some way, shape or form (to my great dislike off course.) FB has been really useful in many ways, most importantly in connecting people but for the love of me Mark, can we please go back to the days when facebook was for college students only.

Love,

Short, dark skinned, skinny malnourished African kid without a shirt on.

PS:  I’m actually very light skinned, I’m not skinny or malnourished just that you guys rarely notice us until you see us      on some CNN clip somewhere.

 

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