Four lessons we can learn from the #ChickyLamba incident


As the hubbub around Chicky Lamba and his desperadoe begins to die down, social media expert MJ KHAN reflects on four lessons we can learn from the video that took SA by storm.

With a police investigation underway and one person arrested, the #chickylamba incident has taken a serious turn. The viral video and it’s accompanying meme may have provided many laughs for South Africa in general and Muslim Twitter in particular but there are some serious lessons to be learned from this.

1. The assault on Aadil ‘Braazo’ Osman needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. Also, while it is a serious offence to threaten someone with a weapon, our criticism should also include the slaps. Perhaps we are conditioned to believe that a few smacks here and there are part and parcel of the status quo or that it can be written-off as a business expense claim for communicating with someone, but it isn’t. I fear that in all the parody, we have lost sight of the fact that we have witnessed an assault.

2. We should be making a bigger deal about Shakeel Carrim (aka Chicky Lamba) claiming that his fiancé is his property. Is she like an expensive watch you remove to eliminate wind-drag from the forward momentum of a slap? Two grown men fighting over a grown woman this way is a bit last century. Next time sit down and discuss it over a cup of coffee.

3. The name-dropping employed here harkens to an earlier era and reminded me of the idea of a ‘back-stop’. I didn’t know it was still a thing to prop yourself up by who you know with an “I am because he is” sort of vibe. It’s a very twisted sense of ubuntu, really. I imagine there’s a thug-like equivalent of LinkedIn where Ahmed Amiski endorses Ziyaad Janoo for being a desperado.

4. The ubiquity of connected devices, instant messaging services and social sharing platforms will continue to lead the way in which we consume content. FOMO is increasingly becoming a key driver for this consumption.

The most interesting about the Chicky Lamba incident is that we are sharing it in an almost rebellious fashion, as if to say, “We aren’t bothered by your status, title and long list of supposedly shady associates.” But infamy comes at a price. Chicky Lamba and his band of desperados, with their newfound cult-status, now have permanent online tattoos that can never be retracted, covered-up or removed. Their SEO rankings have been severely compromised (just try hiding this from Google). Hopefully this will serve as a reminder to other aspiring delinquents that this sort of behaviour isn’t cool or laudable.

* A version of this article was originally posted on MJ Khan’s personal blog.

MJ Khan profile picMJ Khan has lectured journalism and media theory at five leading universities over the past decade, and has developed course material for over 19 private institutions. A regular speaker on digital media with a focus on social media, he spends his spare time playing video games and eating chocolate eclairs. Follow him on Twitter or read more from him on his personal blog.


  1. #chickylamba provides us with a good example of what is ‘twitface’ behaviour and a viral vid of this sort is a great way to introduce the concept of cybersaftey to teens.

    Islamic helpline lenasia ( an NPO that deals with social issues effecting the Lenasia community) has embarked on a “Dont be a Twitface’ campaign ..the campaign was designed to teach kids to be cybersafe, cybersmart and cybersavy. The campaign was born out of a need to address several issues relating to kids and their cybersocial behviour. We are faced with a range of cyber related pproblems with cyberbullying and sexting (sharing inapproproate sexual content) being particularly problematic amongst kids 12 -18.

    How does cybersmart and cybersafe behaviour relate to #chickylamba ? Well people document ( pic, vid, vine) all sorts of things and disseminate that content with little thinking as to the repercussions thereof. It goes without saying that one shouldnt behave like a thug and follows that it’s not exactly smart behaviour to video yourself engaging in criminal behaviour. This is in essence is the definition of being a ‘ twitface’ and although I’m certain the intent behind making the #chickylamba vid wasnt to be mocked at or arrested but the consequences of having a vid go viral are real and serious.

    In most cases kids give no thought to the terms and conditions they click and accept when downloading and subscribing to join social media platforms and so they are unaware of just how much of their privacy that they sign away. The anonymity and safety of the screen also emboldens kids and whilst I agree that humour and satire are an important way that we discuss social issues , I note that many kids and young adults fail to balance the right to freedom of expression with the right to privacy and dignity. Freedom of expression isnt a right that is uncapped and laws of defamation apply.

    We must raise a generation of children that are aware that their digital profile or footprint is increasingly becoming an importamt asset. That by all accounts social media fundis and boffins agree that the time quickly approaches where our social media footprints will hold more weight than any c.v or resume. Kids need to be taught to look at their social media activity as a brand and as an extension of their real life idenity. Cybersafe and cybersavy kids are a must in this age where more people own a mobile phone than a toothbrush.

    I live in hope that two things will come of this #chickylamba 5 minutes of fame. One , that the thugs are brought to account and Two that earnest discussion on Netiquette and Cyber-Ed follows in it’s wake.

    Add : shameless plug for Islamic Helpline Lenasia ‘Dont be a Twitface’ initiative ,teaching kids to be cybersafe, cybersmart and cybersavy. We visit schools to deliver a 45 min presentation. For more info 0118521930

  2. Aadil and Chicky have the same surname??

    Not quite.

    Aadil’s surname is wrong.

    Chicky’s surname is sort of right, but not quite.

    With this sort of fact checking, Chicky’s SEO has nothing to fear.

  3. I don’t think these are type of people who are worried about their online reputation. The free SEO that they just got for themselves is not going to tarnish any highly polished LinkedIn profile or hamper job prospects. It is often with this disregard of what people may think of them or how they may be hurting themselves, let alone another, that acts like this are committed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here