South Africa


South Africa’s 24 hour trend report – 27 April 2020

South Africa’s 24 hour trend report – 27 April 2020
South African flag is waved as supporters of "Bafana Bafana" celebrate on the streets of Sandton File Photo: A South African flag is waved on top of a building as thousands of supporters of South Africa's national soccer team "Bafana Bafana" celebrate on the streets of Sandton during a parade of their team in Johannesburg June 9

This is a summary of the trending, highest impact, and most active themes and narratives related to social cohesion in South African public-domain social media conversations on 27 April 2020.

International Solidarity

Conversations about Cuban Doctors arriving in South Africa drove two spikes in volume between 10am and 11am and from 9pm to 10pm.

Related posts by @EFFSouthAfrica achieved the highest reach, with @JacksonMtembu trending second.

@Christeldalewis’ post was third by reach.

As the coronavirus spreads, international relief efforts are on the rise.

The topic of Cuban doctors trended throughout the day. Responders to Minister Jackson Mthembu’s tweet at 8.06am showed mixed emotions – some were negative, saying the doctors should be sent back, while many thanked the minister for his leadership and were grateful for the government’s ingenuity in these difficult times. 

@AfricaFactsZone tweeted a video of the 200 doctors disembarking from the plane. The post already has over 4,000 likes. 

Twitter conversation about the Burj Khalifa lit up with the South African flag to honour Freedom Day began to grow at 6pm and peaked at 9pm.

It was a symbol of unity for the many South Africans living and working in Dubai. 

@Inter_ZA’s  video of the building lighting up has been viewed close to 6 000 times. South Africans showed their appreciation for the gesture, @Fedi40860670 tweeting “wow…This is true solidarity. Thank you UAE”.

Since 24 March, light artist Gerry Hofstetter has been lighting up the Matterhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps with flags from around the world, in solidarity with the global efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Conversation about the Matterhorn peaked at 8am as viewers from around the globe marvelled at the pictures. 

South Africans retweeted a post created by @zermatt_tourism: “As a country of immigration, South Africa is a country of hope. We wish the population much courage and strength to overcome the crisis #Hope #Zermatt #Matterhorn.”

Madagascar’s latest invention, Covid-Organics, is a herbal tea which claims to cure the coronavirus. It has been personally endorsed by the President of Madagascar. This topic has been trending with positive backing from South African social media, but is also becoming controversial.  

@AfricaFactsZone’s tweet on 27 April “Senegal has become the first country to make an order for Madagascar’s Coronavirus medicine, Covid Organics” spread rapidly with over 2 500 retweets. 

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Senegal has denied placing an order for Covid-Organics. The WHO has released a statement stating there is no official known cure for Covid-19. 

United in our Freedom

The President’s Freedom Day Address and the EFF Rally drove the 10am to 11am spike in volume.

Posts relating to Freedom Day trended seventh (@GovernmentZA) by reach.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation virtually branded with the colours of the South African flag. 

The topic of his address was “Solidarity and Triumph of the Human Spirit in these Challenging Times”. The President’s personal tweet with the video was retweeted over 400 times. 

Accounts like  @CornuPerold13 and @Wrong65291488 derailed some of the positivity as they tried to dissect the meaning of “our people”.

@Mfundoyakhe_S who regards himself as a youth activist responded to the President’s tweet thanking him for the hope that he has brought us and for his assurance that as a country, we will rise again to glory”.

EFF leader Julius Malema addressed followers in a digital broadcast. 

#EFFFreedomday trended on twitter as the party promised to “financially support all the artists who have ever graced the stage in EFF events”, because today they would have been performing at a rally, had it not been for Covid-19. “With the little that we have, we will support them?” tweeted @Rev_Mente. 

EFF’s official Twitter feed said the online rally reached “450 000 people via Facebook, more than 16 000 via Twitter’s Periscope, 1,5 million via the EFFOnline website, and millions via SABC, Newzroom Africa and GAUTv Live Broadcasts”. 

Freedom Day celebrations went digital this year with the nation in lockdown.

With the Burj Khalifa in Dubai lit up with the South African flag, many South Africans took to social media to share this moment of national pride.

One Twitter user appreciated the small things in life after finding a bottle of gin that was lost in his house.

In a top trending tweet by impact and reach, @Lean3JvV celebrated her birthday by sharing: “Celebrating my birthday in lockdown on Freedom Day. Trying to type a tweet, but just don’t have the words… we are truly living through extraordinary times. How quickly everything has changed. Call those you love, send that text and hug those around you a little tighter.”

A post by @Ukhozi_fm related to the mosque arrest was the fourth biggest by reach yesterday.

With Minister Cele’s apology for the remarks police made during the arrests, this topic has become polarising —  responses to the apology are split between support for the police and anger towards them.

Organisations like the SAHRC and media such as Ukhozi FM radio have condemned the behaviour of the police. These threads have garnered much engagement online.

The ninth biggest post by reach was a tweet by @News24 – “Malaria still kills 1 100 a day…” As malaria rates increase across the continent, organisations including the WHO have expressed their concerns.

The main thread of conversation revolves around the need for continuing with vaccinations and the shortage of mosquito nets. DM

The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) is a non-profit organisation incubated at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town. The CABC stimulates positive social change through engagement, dialogue and advocacy.


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