South Africa


South Africa’s weekend trend report – 12 to 14 June 2020

South Africa’s weekend trend report – 12 to 14 June 2020
Protesters march against gender-based violence, organised by several NGO's and organisations at the JSE in Sandton on September 13, 2019 in Sandton, South Africa. (Photo: Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

This is a summary of the trending, highest impact, and most active themes and their narratives related to social cohesion and division in South African public-domain social media conversations from 12 to 14 June 2020. Global trends affecting South Africa are also featured.

Femicide crisis

Gender-based violence continued to dominate social media conversations over the weekend as the number one trending topic, with a 63% burst and 49,294 mentions. 

Following last week’s outrage over the killing of Tshegofatso Pule, two horrific cases of femicide were shared widely. Simbongile Mancotywa was allegedly shot 15 times by her husband. @Thamani tweeted, “He shot her 15 times and is out on bail because it’s his “first time”. The police don’t care guys. How many women must die first before there’s justice. They literally said one woman’s death isn’t enough to jail him. Nobody wants to protect us.” The tweet received 2,700 retweets and 3,200 likes. 

@Man’s NOT Barry Roux tweeted about a woman who was allegedly shot by her husband, who is being sought by police: “Mahlare Thabo Morerwa shot his wife 4 times on the chest in front of the kids (a boy and a 2yrs daughter) on Wednesday night. They were staying in Cosmo City. Mahlare is currently on the run if you see or have info about his whereabouts call the police. Please retweet for awareness.” The tweet received 7,300 retweets and 3,800 likes. 

@YourAnonCentral described gender-based violence as a crisis in South Africa, receiving 11,400 likes and 3,800 retweets by 10:00 on Monday morning.

Karabo Mbatha started a petition that has been shared on Twitter. The petition calls for “GBV & violation of women’s rights to be prioritised by the SA government & leaders”. The petition was started four days ago and had 15,255 signatures early on Monday. 

@Kai_InTheKut tweeted: “SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS A GBV POLICE UNIT!!” The message received primarily positive comments in response and had been retweeted 4,100 times and liked 9,300 times. 

Social media users have expressed anger at the lack of attention given to GBV issues in South Africa, with many making comparisons with focus on the Black Lives Matter movement. @EricanSA captured this sentiment: “Floyd was murdered in the USA. SA posted statuses and vented their anger. Days ago in SA, a pregnant woman was brutally stabbed and hung from a tree yet the same energy displayed for Floyd is non-existent for her.” The tweet has been liked 65,000 times and retweeted 24,300 times. 

@Tino_Chinyani decried the lack of response from South African men: “The silence on GBV from men in this country is disturbing. Y’all can tweet all day about the PS5 dropping but you can’t stand up when your women are being abused?” The tweet received 1,600 retweets and 3,300 likes by Monday morning. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Police Bheki Cele were also sharply criticised for the gender-based violence crisis. @sijabulile__ tweeted: “Cyril Ramaphosa allocated R1.1-billion last year in September to ‘help us in the against GBV.’ What has that money been used for? How has it helped in the fight? We need answers.” This tweet received 1,600 retweets and 2,800 likes by today.

Issues around the GBV crisis permeate many other topics. A video of four boisterous young men drinking and making fun of Bheki Cele was widely circulated on social media on Sunday – the four were all later arrested for violating lockdown regulations. @NormaarMsiza commented: “The fact that Bheki Cele found those individuals who were mocking him via videos in HOURS but can’t find abusers & murderers really baffles me.” @eatzz tweeted a similar sentiment, comparing the swift arrest of the four youngsters in the video with a serial rapist who has evaded capture by police for five years. The two tweets received just under 5,000 retweets and 10,000 likes combined. 

The killing of choreographer and gender activist Kirvan Fortuin trended by volume and burst, and #JusticeForKirvan was widely shared as social media users expressed their outrage. @Mihlali_Adams, tweeted : “A 14 year old killed a queer person yesterday. Remember this the next time you give children a pass for their homophobia. Things like this cost people their lives.” The tweet received 21,400 retweets and 46,900 likes. 

BLM & cancel culture  

A weekend tweet by @fifimoeng questioning the “cancel culture” within social media communities received 2,400 retweets, 5,700 likes and 91 comments by Monday morning: “I thought TikTok was cancelled? At some point we’re going to have to commit to the things we say as black people because we’re starting to look hella ridiculous rn.” The comments discussed how “cancel culture” offered people instant gratification by publicly participating in a movement, without having to commit to any action. 

@Thanos_codes commented: “People need to realise Twitter campaigns are just to make us feel better for not doing anything practical about what’s wrong in the world.” @Lynette SA shared this opinion on the recent calls to cancel: “We went through this with H&M, it was Tiktok. I see it happening with Superbalist too at the first 5% sale they have. We really can do better.”

In one supportive response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Premier League clubs in the UK will replace players’ names on the back of their shirts with “Black Lives Matter” when the League resumes, according to a tweet by Al Jazeera English. The tweet received 88 retweets and 286 likes. B/R Football tweeted confirmation: “Premier League players confirm they will have Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts in place of their names for the first 12 matches of the restarted 2019/20 season.” The tweet received 1,400 retweets and 8,400 likes. 

Missing women plea

Retweets about women who have been reported missing trended in the top ten topics by volume and top two topics by burst.

On Saturday @AdvoBarryRoux shared a photograph of an elderly woman: “Margaret Dear Mudangwe was last seen in Hatfield last week wearing a red checked apron, doek & black shoes. If seen please contact 0773591098 or 0775847968 or 0773406625. Retweet For Awareness”. The tweet received 1,300 retweets and 687 likes by today. 

On Sunday, he tweeted: “This is Khuphani Adivhaho (18) from Levubu she’s missing. She was last seen on Saturday, 06/06 by her family. She reportedly left her home without informing anyone. If seen please contact Sgt Nemahadani on 079 684 9601. Retweet For Awareness. This message was shared with a photo of the teenager and gained 2,600 retweets and 1,400 likes. 

Later, @AdvoBarryRoux shared yet another image of a missing woman: “This is Zama Minenhle Gwamanda. She was last seen on the 03/06/2020 leaving her flat in Durban. Any info please contact 060 422 3814. Retweet For Awareness”. The tweet received 1,000 retweets and 428 likes.


The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) is a non-profit organisation based at UCTs Graduate School of Business and incubated by the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership. It was established to track and counter mis- and disinformation, fake news and divisive and polarising rhetoric that is promulgated online to undermine social cohesion, democratic integrity, and the stability of nation-states.


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