#2021 – The year dumbf*ckery reached Level 5

by Louise Burgers. I’ve summed up 2021 in memes because we have to take our fun where we can find it.

by Louise Burgers. This year, the levels of general dumbf*ckery were almost higher than Covid infection levels. You couldn’t pivot without bumping into a Covid conspiratheorist; or make an unprecedented pun without offending an anti-vaxxer. Social media was exhausting, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who unfriended and blocked with impunity when the social media cesspool revealed new normal levels of stupid in our networks.

Credit: JYD designs

Since my creativity is in shreds after this hard year and I’ve had a serious sense of humour failure over anti-vaxxers and the inequality of the latest travel bans, I’ve summed 2021 up in memes again, as I did at the end of 2020, in TRENDING: 2020 summarised in memes. We have to take our fun where we can find it these days – like my new coffee cup which inspired the headline to this piece and makes me smile every morning!


Can you even remember the first quarter of 2021, or 2020 Season 2, as some were calling it? Luckily, we started the year off with a 2021 survival guide from top retailers, strategists and marketers in our #21interviews series; and we came up with some New Year resolutions for the industry. Important among these was to unlearn the following overused words: pivot, unprecedented, normal, new normal, next normal, normal WTF, unconference… (this still stands btw).


More sadness with the announcement that our last music and movie chain, Musica was closing. Hanging out in music shops in the 80s and 90s was my teenage equivalent of sitting in a coffee shop staring at our mobile phones these days. And of course, the petrol price continued to rise.


By March, after the dismal start to the year – what with our deadly 2nd wave of Covid-Beta, more harsh lockdowns, and the insurrection in the US Capital – some folk wanted their money back!


Nespresso launched a campaign to match its coffee flavours with major cities. It asked, ‘What does Cape Town smell like?’ (No, it’s not weed). The brand launched a new flavour coffee called Cape Town Envivo Lungo, with a punchy, bitter note and woodsy aroma”. Bitter and smelling woodsy sounds about right for some Capetonians.


Who knew the Covid vaccine would not just help us fight this deadly virus, but also be a test of critical thinking ability.


The country lost the plot totally in Winter this year with the #nationalbabyshower and the #nationaldisgrace decuplets debacle. We were all clearly so desperate for some good news. Well done on the brands and retailers that jumped in to help when we all still believed the story in the first five minutes.


This is one month that should have been deleted: #riots #lockdown3 #alcoholban #Transnethackattack #supplychainchallenges #Popia, and our baked beans tried to kill us (Tiger Brands had to recall canned veggies after contamination at a supplier). On the plus side, we learnt a new word from protest posters, ‘lootering’; and ‘Jou Ma se POPIA’ went viral after the deluge of email and social media messages, that ironically, were all about not deluging us with email and social media messages to protect our privacy.


By mid-2021, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one sick of Zoom meetings. I noticed clients started leaving their cameras off about this time; and even reverting back to phone calls if it was just two of us. Or maybe that was just me.


‘Containergeddon’ is what the US media called the supply chain crisis due to Covid shutting down ports and causing shipping delays. Walmart and rivals like Amazon resorted to hiring their own ships to ensure the shelves were stocked come Black Friday and Christmas.


Facebook rebrands to META. That’s all. Comedy for days.



It was a dark month. Thanks #Eskom.


Here we go again…  #Omicron #fourthwave #travelbans

I don’t know if any of us dare put our ducks in a row with all the uncertainty in the world. It is with some trepidation that we are peering around the corner at 2022, trying not to make any sudden moves. But we do wish all our readers and contributors have lovely holidays filled with festive cheer, and that it will indeed be a happier New Year with an end in sight to the pandemic.


Sources: Thanks go to the social media intelligensi (there are a few); the Loners band of superheroes; my funniest and most cynical friends Brandon and Darryl; and all who kept me laughing, even through the darkest days, with the funniest memes.



Main image credit:


Louise Burgers is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.


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