They say laughter is good medicine for our health and what a good way of achieving this with the humour of Botswana's number one rib-cracking cartoon collection called Mabijo. Not the comic collection recently launched.
Mabijo is traversing new media and now with the dot com connection the Mabijo cartoons of 2010, from January to December are all just a mouse click away. Botswana's longest sustained humorous cartoon by Tebogo Motsweta has followed after other internationally recognised newspaper cartoons and came up with its own one stop dotcom page. And as if that were not enough the cartoon creator is also working on an animation project where the cartoons can now be seen in motion.
A sample of what the animated Mabijo could look like is already playing on YouTube. The Mabijo clip on YouTube is about the humorous character's encounter with a rhino in the forest. In panic Mabijo runs into a crocodile infested river fleeing from the charging rhino as he screams, "Now I believe God exists!" The Mabijo YouTube clip, posted only in September this year, however, does not have a voice yet, and the character's utterances are still in written form.
The Mabijo website, mabijo.com provides those who might have missed several instalments of the Mabijo humour the opportunity to stop by and play rewind and have a good laugh from the comforts of their homes, or during lunch time at work, and kill themselves with doses of the humour that the cartoon has been known for since its debut in the Daily News and Kutlwano magazine in 1989.
The website is also rich with Tebogo Motsweta's satires that have appeared in local newspapers this year.
Mabijo comic strips have been admired for his light-hearted views, witty opinions and comical commentary on local and global issues. Mabijo does not just have a website. He is also on facebook and an amazing 3,758 Batswana are followers of Mabijo on the facebook, where each week the cartoon attracts over 100 comments posted on its wall by fans staggered by its humour.
Over the years Mabijo has established himself as our own version of Homer of the Simpsons, thanks to his unlimited levels of stupidity, which can only stagger the reader with endless laughter. Laughter is the main part, from day one when Mabijo made his debut in the Daily News during midweek, the Mabijo collectors were always itching to check out what weird and stupid tricks Mabijo was up to and start laughing to tears. Scientists have identified laughter, which is derived from humorous read like Mabijo, as a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict.
"Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert," says healthguide.org, a well-known website dedicated to sharing health guides free of charge.
The down side of the Mabijo website however, is that the cartoons on this website were not designed to be downloaded, but just to be viewed. A user won't be able to drag them onto the desktop or immediately use them as a screensaver! However, Mabijo being what he is, one can always download him through the facebook route and use as a screensaver on the computer or cellphone.
Mabijo diehard fans will also find on the website collectibles or merchandise in the form of caps, golf shirts, Mabijo bags and Mabijo mugs on offer.
While the mabijo.com may not carry all the humorous cartoons from the first instalments, browsers will not be disappointed as it has archives of all the cartoons that ran from the beginning of the year.
From telling the police that he hit a cow because he had the right of way, and wondering why his marriage certificate doesn't carry any expiry date, to one of the recent cartoons when Mabijo gives a sick child one hell of an effective medicine in laxatives so that it doesn't dare cough again, the free Mabijo is just like free medicine for the heart looking for something to lighten up their moods.
Writing in the healthguide.org, Melinda Smith, MA Gina Kemp, MA, and Jeanne Segal, PhD, say that laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body. They may not have been aware that they were referring to the likes of mabijo.com when they wrote, "Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use".
Some health benefits of laughter thanks to healthguide.org including the following: Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems