The “#Resurrectionchallenge”: Unpacking religious jokes on social media

  • Patience Mathambo University of Botswana
Keywords: social media, religion, jokes, humour, parody, Facebook, Christianity, pastors, religious leaders


While studies on political jokes and other forms of humour exist, very scanty literature exists on how content put on social media by or on behalf of pastors particularly in Southern Africa, constitute content for the creation of jokes which trend on various social media platforms. An example of this is the #resurrectionchallenge which started trending on social media on the 24th of February 2019 after Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries International allegedly raised a man from the dead. #Resurrectionchallenge itself not only points to questioning the authenticity of these pastors but also highlights how the production of the viral jokes emanating from the Pastor Lukau content speaks to a deviation from the established conventions where words by pastors are revered. Now social media users are using various artefacts in the form of videos and adding comical value to them by replicating these acts carried out by pastors such as the #resurrectionchallenge. The foundation of what is being used in order to create this comic relief online is from a religious perspective and this leads to the question of whether religion itself might now be perceived as a joke, especially in Christianity. Consequently, social media platforms provide spaces for such challenges to be performed as a mockery of the pastors performing such miracles. Focusing on videos shared on Facebook using the #resurrectionchallenge this study uses multimodal discourse analysis to shed light on the phenomenon of image creation as a communication practice.

Author Biography

Patience Mathambo, University of Botswana