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 8 June 2020.
What matters most
Many of today’s top 10 topics by volume related to support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The top topic by volume was “people”.
Tweeting with the hashtag #EFFBLMProtest, @AdvoBarryRoux warned against Xenophobic attacks by referencing a statement made by Julius Malema: “Julius Malema: When you kill Zimbabweans, Nigerians and Mozambiquens here in South Africa you’re teaching the world that it is okay to kill black people. #EFFBLMProtest”. This post was tweeted at 10:08 and has been retweeted more than 1 200 times in under 24 hours. Other images making the rounds on social media showed EFF members kneeling in silent protest at the death of George Floyd. The tweet explains that the family of Collins Khosa was present at the protest. An image of the EFF kneeling was tweeted by @samkelemaseko at 9:03 and has been retweeted more than
1 300 times.
A company called Swiitch Beauty has made it into the social media spotlight after tweeting solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The company offered grants and product giveaways to up-and-coming black artists and business owners to help them in the world of makeup and beauty therapy. Hundreds of Twitter users said they would love the opportunity to win, but not everyone was happy by the announcement. At 14:36 @LeratoMaanya tweeted “Hey guys, racist white people are leaving negative comments on Swiitch Beauty’s Facebook page to tank their rating after this statement was released, if you have a moment - please go give the business a positive rating and leave a positive comment!” Lerato’s tweet has been retweeted more than 200 times.
Uber eats will not be charging delivery fees for people who order from black-owned restaurants. According to the screenshot being circulated on social media, the CEO of Uber Eats says it wants to use the platform to support black owned businesses and to make it easier for buyers to support them. The screenshot of the article was tweeted by @4KobusWiese: “Please excuse my ignorance Uber Eats, but you will be happy to make money off all the white, colored and Indian owned restaurants? I was not aware that the covid virus is racist, picking who it effects! Is this true?” Tweeted at 10:59, the post has already been retweeted more than 600 times.
A video of President Cyril Ramaphosa discussing the complex nature of systemic racism appears to have been taken out of context in a tweet that drove large volumes. It showed a snippet of the President’s video and said: “Wow, I feel sorry for the majority of white South Africans - here the president generalize and put all white South Africans in one box. This while the majority of white South Africans are in support of his presidency. @CyrilRamaphosa”. The video, together with this tweet, has been viewed over 90 000 times and retweeted more than 300 times. Conspiracy South African presidents forming part of a secret society are among the comments.
The Black Lives Matter movement appears to be evoking two main online responses: One advocates continuing with peaceful protests together as united people, while another argues that peaceful protests have not worked well enough, and stronger action is required.
Celebrity @terrycrews tweeted: “Defeating White supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy. Equality is the truth. Like it or not, we are all in this together.” This post was retweeted more than 50 000 times during the day. From another point of view, @PRO_BLAC tweeted from eMalahleni that “If white people came to Africa and peacefully protested to get slaves and minerals of Africa would they have got them? And somehow in 2020 Africans think that by peacefully protesting they are gonna END white supremacy. It would be funny if it wasn’t so SAD.” This post has been retweeted over 170 times.
An artist has been showing his support with the stencil of a fist that he has been spraying onto willing protestors and other objects. This Tik Tok video has been viewed more than 6 million times and the post on twitter has gone viral with more than 150 000 retweets.
Tweets about Gender Based Violence trended with several threads related to the killing of Tshegofatso Pule, who was found dead yesterday after going missing on 4 June. South African artist Cassper Nyovest expressed his utter dismay in a tweet, “With everything that's going on in the country. Men still find the time to kill women in South Africa. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?”. With a potential reach of over 2 million followers, Cassper Nyovest’s tweet received over 8 500 likes, 1 700 retweets and 228 comments.
The tweet triggered many comments on Gender Based Violence incidents.@Mmakobo_Thage described a case in her neighbourhood: “They just murdered a lady around our hood bathong the lady was staying alone. They robbed and killed her this early morning guys I'm not ohk yooh aowa”.
Other users mentioned how difficult it was being a woman in South Africa and how mob justice and the death penalty should be implemented to curb gender-based violence.
The murder of Tshegofatso Pule, a 28-year-old pregnant woman, trended throughout the day. Initially, tweets went out asking for help to find her after she went missing, followed by the sad news of her death, and calls for justice.
@MbaliZuma1 posted hertweeton popular Twitter accounts, asking users to retweet her post until Tshegofatso’s killer was found. The tweet received over 150 retweets and 79 likes under MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi’s twitter account. One of her friends, @iamfooddoc took to Twitter to highlight how Tshegofatso was killed “This time it hit home! A close friend of ours, a daughter, a sister, an expecting mother! Found today murdered and hanged in a veld. What monster does that?? what kind of cruelty is this? #RIPTshego #menaretrash #justiceForNaledi”. The tweet received 768 retweets, 782 likes and over 100 comments.
Nationalism or xenophobia?
The hashtag “#PutSouthAfricaFirst” trended within the overall top topic for the day, with some saying it harbours xenophobic undertones.
@IOLtweeted an article: “EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema addressed the large crowd and called on the black community to stand against racism. @pretorianews #blacklivesmatter”. In this speech, Malema said: “While you kill Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Nigerians and Somalians here in South Africa and you call them 'makwerekwere' and all sorts of names, today you are holding a placard saying #BlackLivesMatter? You supported the killing of your fellow black brothers and sisters, and you have some useless hashtag on social media saying #PutSouthAfricaFirst. That is narrow nationalism”.
Some criticised this stance: @BoyboyMalome, tweeted: “People please balance me, how is #PutSouthAfricansFirst Movement Xenophobic or Afrophobic for asking their own government to prioritize them 1st in their own country?” The tweet received 87 retweets and 262 likes.
Issued by the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change.
See Cabc.org.za for daily reports
A deep analysis on any of these issues is available on request.
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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