South Africa


South Africa’s trends report – 13 July, 2020

South Africa’s trends report – 13 July, 2020
A cashier sits in front of a closed 'Liquor Store' alcohol section of the store inside a Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. supermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday, May 11, 2020. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg 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 on 13 July 2020. Global trends impacting on South Africa are also included.

The president’s announcement about lockdown regulations on Sunday night continued to drive significant volume on Twitter on Monday. 

Many people shared informative summaries of the regulations, like @Max_Mofo, whose tweet was liked and retweeted approximately 2,000 times by this morning. @AldrinSampear tweeted: “POOR BLACK PEOPLE DIDN’T BRING THIS THING NOW THEY MUST BEAR THE BRUNT… While those who brought this thing recover in isolation & probably with zero shame or effort to stand in solidarity with poor Black South Africans… Niyahlanyisana maan.” The tweet received almost 3,000 likes and was retweeted almost 1,000 times. 

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The president’s announcement that taxis could operate at 100% capacity on local trips and 70% on long-distance trips raised questions. Many pointed out that taxis transported many poor black people to the businesses that have reopened. @brodiegal expressed this view in a rhetorical tweet: “Can I ask (white?) Twitter: how the fuck do you expect most people to get to work to make your cappuccino or do your nails or serve you at a restaurant etc? this constant trashing of taxis like there is a magic carpet black people ride from the townships to the suburbs.” This was liked over 1,300 times and retweeted 415 times.


A similar sentiment was shared by @streakley: “If you call for fewer business restrictions, you need to be fine with full taxis. Poor people work in service industries. Black people are the poor people. Black people were removed to townships, far away. Taxis are how they get to Tashas to serve you eggs benny.” This was liked and retweeted over 2,000 times. 

@IOL reported that the Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, defended the decision, saying it was likely that droplets from passengers would be dispersed by the vehicles’ open windows while travelling. 

@ThatoD01 mocked this stance, tweeting: “Your government is terrified of the taxi industry. They threw in the ‘open windows’ to somehow make the 100% capacity taxis sound less covid-y. It’s actually laughable.” This tweet was liked and retweeted over 1,500 times. 

Opening up

The decision by the Minister of Basic Education to reopen schools continued to be met with opposition. @Botshelo_BLP shared the grim reality facing her mother: “My mom is a teacher and she’s 62 years, she has Hypertension and Hypoglycemia… 🥺 But guess what? The school is forcing her to come to work because apparently some younger teachers may have faked Dr letters about their conditions. She’s scared to lose her job. So she goes.” This was liked and retweeted over 300 times. 

Many replies offered support like this tweet by @cuppa_teeh: “This is disgusting. She’s being made to put her life at [risk] for a job. A job she cannot do if she’s ill. They’re also willing to put the kids’ lives at risk should she ever catch the virus. I’m so sorry.”

A video by a young learner addressing minister Angie Motshekga directly as “Aunty Angie” reached over 7,000 viewers by this morning: The boy said he would be staying home to protect his life, because the minister was not acting in his best interests, and the lives of learners did not matter to her.

Shutting down  

The reintroduction of the alcohol ban “with immediate effect” on Sunday night was slated. @5fm tweeted an informal poll asking, “We want to see something👀 In all honesty, do you agree with the #alcoholban 👀 🍻🥂 🍾🚫🙅‍♂️🙅‍♀️ RT or FAVE 👇 #AlcoholHasFallen”. The tweet called for users to “fave” (like) if they disagree with the ban and to retweet if they agree. The tweet was the ninth largest tweet by reach. By today 227 retweeted in support and almost 1,000 opposed the ban.

@SimonPGrindrod tweeted: “Banning alcohol at 8pm on a Sunday night without any notice to the many thousands of employees in the sector, let alone the population, is a desperate & chaotic knee-jerk reaction by a rudderless Government led by an overwhelmed President.” This tweet was liked over 5,600 times and retweeted over 1,600 times. 

@rodcampsbay viewed the ban as political, tweeting: “The alcohol ban is a direct attack on the Western Cape. Our wine farms will be destroyed. This is a direct assault on the success of the DA Provincial government.”. This was liked and retweeted almost 6,000 times.

Some tweets in support of the ban gained traction. @BNjalo_artist shared, “I understand why Cyril banned alcohol. Immediately after the memorial service I attended yesterday, my friends suggested we get together and drink. The masks started coming off one by one and people were sharing cigarettes. The person we were mourning died of #COVID19”. The tweet was liked almost 5,000 times and received over 1,800 retweets.

Getting away

Naledi Chirwa shared a post about a father who received a suspended jail sentence for sexually assaulting his daughter over eight years: “This is South Africa. ‘A man was handed a suspended jail sentence of five years, 24 months correctional supervision,’ after sexually assaulting his daughter for 8 years since she was 3 years old.” The tweet received 185 likes and 307 retweets. 

@azrahmajiet posted: “A woman’s life has the same value as a T-shirt in South Africa” in response to a Stellenbosch court granting R500 bail to a final-year medical student accused of sexually and physically assaulting another student. The tweet received 506 liked and 204 retweets. 

Dumi Carl’s tweet received 1,900 likes and 877 retweets: “The most disrespected person in South Africa is the black woman. The most unprotected person in South Africa is the black woman. The most neglected person in South Africa is the black woman.”

Zindzi Mandela

The passing of Zindzi Mandela, daughter of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, dominated social media conversations, with users extending messages of support and condolences.

President @CyrilRamaphosa shared a photograph of a young Zindzi Mandela with her fist in the air: “I offer my deep condolences to the Mandela family as we mourn the passing of a fearless political activist who was a leader in her own right. Our sadness is compounded by this loss being visited upon us just days before the world marks the birthday of the great Nelson Mandela.” This tweet gained traction with 1,600 retweets and 7,500 likes. 

UDM leader @BantuHolomisa shared a video: “#ZindziMandela’s passing away is a real shock. She was so like her mom and worked closely with her to make sure that her father and other political prisoners were freed. Our condolences to the family and may her soul rest in peace.” This tweet generated 184 retweets and 1,000 likes.

Former mayor of Johannesburg @HermanMashaba shared a photograph of himself with Zindzi:  “What sad news to wake up to. Gone far too soon. Rest in peace, Zindzi. Sending my deepest condolences to the Mandela family ❤️ #ZindziMandela.” This received 152 retweets and 1,000 likes.  

@SihleMthembuZA shared a nine-part Twitter thread which read: “I have seen the same four or five images of Mam Zindzi Mandela being shared. This always worries me cause images colour our perspective and can drive us to see a person only one way. Here is a thread of lesser-seen images of the woman we lost today. Photo by Lefty Shivambu.” This was retweeted over 2,200 times and liked 4,600 times. 

@ChristoThurston shared photographs of Zindzi Mandela with her parents: “You were fearless in tackling real issues. Your history and your life will not be forgotten. Rest in peace daughter of giants, #ZindziMandela. #RIPZindziMandela.” This tweet received 2,100 retweets and 8,400 likes.  DM 

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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