South Africa


South Africa’s 24-hour trend report: 20 August 2020

South Africa’s 24-hour trend report: 20 August 2020

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 20 August 2020.

As the full impact of the economic crisis hits home, many big businesses are in deep trouble and some smaller businesses are turning to social media to reach out to new customers.

‘Horror show’

Early on Thursday, @iamkoshiek tweeted about the performance of big businesses in South Africa, calling it “season 1 of the horror show”. His post trended during the second half of the day within the topic “Business”. It has been retweeted more than 400 times and received close to 1,000 likes. 

News about the Experian data breach had some Twitter users hoping their debts had been deleted. Earlier in the week, @MokoenaDee tweeted a news article: “Personal details of 24 million South Africans may have been hacked after attack on credit bureau.” This post was retweeted more than 1,100 times. 

@BrownSkinGhel asked: “Did they delete our debts?” @MModimo tweeted: “Imagine waking up tomorrow to a zero balance on a home loan!” But @brian_royalb explained: “It doesn’t work like that. Your debt records don’t sit with the credit bureaus. Those records sit with your creditor (Bank, University). To “delete” your debt you’d have to hack your creditors directly.”

Social selling

Port Elizabeth was the second highest trending topic on Thursday, driven primarily by young entrepreneurs promoting their businesses in a region that has been particularly hard hit by unemployment and economic decline.

@LingeNontyatho tweeted images of a man in a mask with cupcakes: “We are opposite Shoprite in Govan Mbeki street Port Elizabeth. R5 a cup cake. Please retweet, my clients are on your TL.” This post was retweeted and liked more than 1,700 times by Friday morning. 

@LwaziMagele tweeted images of a woman with healthy hair: “Your wig specialist in Port Elizabeth.” The post was retweeted more than 280 times and received close to 3,000 likes. Potential customers responded and provided their contact details. @LwaziMagele then provided a price list to help potential customers to choose products and services. 

South Africa’s unemployment rate received significant attention as young people expressed their frustration and turned to social media in desperation. @Tizzy_TSA tweeted: “Hello South Africa. My name is Thapedi Mokhalaka, I am 26 years of age, have a BTech in Chemical Engineering, I am unemployed and searching for a job. Please retweet until it reaches the right people. Thank you.” 

@iWontCare quoted the post in a retweet: “I’ve sent my CV to so many places and I’ve gone to numerous auditions, not a single call. It is extremely exhausting. I’m a host for a live youth show on Cape Town TV and I also host 2 YouTube shows. I was on radio for 3 years in Varsity. Please RT my employer might be on your TL.” This tweet gained traction yesterday with over 1,600 retweets and 1,100 likes.

@ZinhleMasango6 shared a five-part thread about unemployment. The initial tweet included a meme of a crying man: “Main reason I hate ANC it’s because I’m turning 30 years next year, I never paid tax. I finish my matric at 17 years went to college did Nated, computer skills but never got a job , I’ve been sending emails ever since no response 😭😭😭 #VoetsekANC #PutSouthAfricansFirst.” This tweet generated 445 retweets and over 1,300 likes.

Amidst the out-of-work gloom, several Twitter users tried to spread hope by posting tweets about available employment and education opportunities. @Portiaa_S shared a screenshot of the SAPS Career Opportunities page. The tweet read: “SAPS has quite a few Social Work posts; Closing date is 28 August 2020. RT for awareness 🙏🏾.” This tweet received nearly 2,000 retweets and 726 likes by Friday morning.

@NalediYona shared details about bursary opportunities offered by the department of correctional services: “Here are bursary opportunities guys. Kindly retweet!” This was retweeted over 2,300 times and liked 840 times.

Long march

The top post by reach for the day displayed an image of activists marching from the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. They held up a sign: “Long walk to Freedom #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.” The post was retweeted close to 200 times and it received more than 400 likes. A few South Africans posted negative comments about the march, such as “go back to zim” and “they are marching on wrong soil”.

@musa_gwebani tweeted: “We must talk about how hostile South Africa is to migrants. Not just the xenophobic violence but the actual laws that regulate entry, study and work in SA as a migrant. It’s impenetrable.” This post has been retweeted more than 170 times and it has received more than 300 likes. 

@martyn_melinda shared information about the levels of difficulty to entry: “The rules depend on which country you come from, immigrants from eSwatini, Lesotho and Botswana are treated better and have an easier process as compared to Zimbabwean and further North African immigrants.” 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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