South Africa


South Africa’s 24-hour trends report – 11 August 2020

South Africa’s 24-hour trends report – 11 August 2020
Democrat Kamala Harris reacts shortly before getting up and walking out with two other Democratic Senators during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 28 September 2018 (reissued 21 January 2019). Kamala Harris has been selected by Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden as his VP pick. (EPA-EFE/Michael Reynolds)

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 11 August 2020.

South Africans took their discontent with the ruling ANC, persisting inequality and growing debt to social media.

Issues around economic empowerment trended after @DanCorderOnAir listed events that took place in South Africa in the 1900s, including laws that enabled white South Africans to progress further than black citizens: “How white economic empowerment, specifically Afrikaner economic empowerment, uplifted white South Africans through official government policy from early 1900s into apartheid. B.E.E is nothing compared to the targeted government intervention white people benefited from.” This post was retweeted over 2,200 times and received more than 2,400 likes by Wednesday. 

@aCTAccountant responded: “You left out the building of education, electricity, manufacturing infrastructure which made it the leader in Africa which created the perfect platform for increasing its wealth creation for all. Just slip it in there.” 

Other Twitter account holders were quick to respond by writing: “Yes, from capital generated by exploited black labour on stolen black land. And the capital generated by 100% of the population was used to benefit 10% of it while subjugating the rest. The boers didn’t create those things, they acquired them through the aforementioned capital” and “The world has always traded. No white SA created electricity, education, infrastructure. White SA consumed it like the rest of the world. Which is beside the point of this thread. I’m sure in your family nobody was involved in the creation of all these ‘advances’ you are stating.” 

At 14:16 @sugeezy tweeted about the material things that South Africans focus on and described the debt cycle that many South Africans find themselves in. The post was retweeted close to 3,000 times and liked more than 9,900 times. Responding to the tweet, @kingpenuel added: “We have too many people drowning in debt in SA just so they can floss on Insta… depression, anxiety, divorce, violence are real!”

@SuperiorZulu tweeted: “If Black People can normalize coming together as a Collective as they make 80% of SA Population and start funding black owned businesses to create strong Black economy which can be systematically tasked to tackling Poverty and Unemployment among our Communities things will change.” The post gained more than 300 retweets and over 700 likes. 

On Tuesday morning, @HermanMashaba came out strongly against the country’s leadership, turning up the heat ahead of the launch of his own political party. He tweeted a video of President Cyril Ramaphosa that has received more than 30,000 views. Ramaphosa explained that his mission was to keep the ANC united and that he would rather appear weak than to split the party. Mashaba said: “Cyril has made his choice. It will always be ANC over South Africa. It’s now time for South Africans to choose, because we cannot save South Africa without destroying this virus called ANC.” The post was retweeted more than 700 times and received close to 2,000 likes. 

In the afternoon, Mashaba tweeted a teaser about the party launch on 29 August, saying: “I did not enter politics for my pockets, I did it because our time is running out to save South Africa from the thieves, and I will not give up while we still have a chance.” This post was retweeted more than 300 times and received over 1,400 likes.

Protected and blessed

Despite the challenges of 2020 and the devastating pandemic sweeping the world, many Twitter users urged people to remain grateful: “A whole pandemic and God still keeps me protected and blessed every single day. I’m so grateful,” shared Twitter user @tamtaughtyou, receiving over 120,000 likes and 43,400 retweets. 

@Angeldust tweeted: “Being alive from January to August is not a joke, God I’m grateful.” The tweet received 7,200 likes and 1,400 retweets. 

Viola Davis (@violadavis) shared an inspirational tweet about owning the house she was raised in: “The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life….I own it….all of it. ‘May you live long enough to know why you were born.’ – Cherokee Birth Blessing.” The tweet received over 128,700 likes and 16,400 retweets. 

Accused in public 

@iAmKara_Boo tweeted an image of the man she alleges raped her nine-year-old niece on Women’s Day. The post has been retweeted more than 14,000 times, with responders expressing their support and concern about their ordeal.

@mjesto24 commented: “You know if you have a baby girl in SA, it does not matter their age, as a parent, you live in fear. That one day you might face such terrible and horrible things in life…this is unspeakable.” A victim of a child rape commented: “As someone who was gang raped at the age of 8, I’m very disgusted and triggered by this… When will we ever get peace.”

@tell_my_stories tweeted: “The 3 men that abducted, raped and brutally assaulted me were sentenced to 26 years in prison today. I thank God that everything I’ve been through, losing my job, losing my brother, and having no income to live, I thank God for life.” The post was retweeted more than 700 times and received close to 4,000 likes.

Let’s run, mate

At 22:00 US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced his running mate, senator Kamala Harris, for the 2020 election. Two tweets trended in South Africa surrounding the announcement. American media outlet CNN tweeted the announcement, reaching 300 retweets and comments and 1,300 likes.

Former president Barack Obama tweeted his support: “I’ve known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing.” His resounding support for the 2020 Democratic ticket had received 100,000 comments and retweets and 400,000 likes by this morning.  

Russian vaccine

As news broke about the Covid-19 Russian vaccine, Twitter user @SimeonV2 asked the question: “Y’all taking a Russia produced COVID vaccine or nah?” The post was retweeted more than 300 times, with one retweet gaining even more traction than the original post.

This story is expected to gain traction in the next few days. 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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