Who is Makmende Amerudi? What began as a comical video, reminiscent of blaxploitation era films like Shaft, has become one of Africa’s first viral internet sensations and highlights how widespread internet usage in Kenya has become.
Who is Makmende Amerudi? He is a star and hero who karate chops villians, winning the eye of beautiful women and dons a 70s wide-collared shirt, bell-bottoms, and aviator sunglasses for good measure. What began as a comical video, reminiscent of blaxploitation era films has become an African viral internet sensation. Boasting over 30,000 Facebook fans, the project was conceived by Just A Band, a Kenyan experimental boy band fusing the musical elements of disco, funk and house. The video is the promo for the band’s new track, Ha-He and “Makmende” — a slang expression for machismo.
Not only is the music video a marketing tool, but the film also highlights how commonplace Internet usage in Kenya has become, as the country has the fourth highest number of Internet users in sub-Saharan Africa. Ethan Zuckerman, a blogger who focuses on technology in Africa notes how the video is an example of Kenya’s widespread Internet use:
It may not be the sort of progress that African ministers of infrastructure or information have been waiting for, but for xenophiles like me, it’s a fascinating moment.