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 27 July 2020. Conversation about racism, xenophobia, inequality and identity gained significant traction on social media yesterday.
Over the weekend, a video calling for a shutdown in Cape Town circulated on social media. The speaker in the video, who is from a community group called Gatvol Capetonian said: “We’ll be shutting down because of the lack of opportunities for coloured people”. Protests erupted on Monday and demonstrators clashed with the police.
Many Twitter users have expressed concern over the anti-black sentiments coming out of these protests. @bontlemvula tweeted: “The “gatvol capetonians” are doing to black South Africans what black South Africans have done to black foreigners living in SA. It’s all misdirected anger and superiority complex really. Disgusting.” This tweet received 386 retweets and 690 likes.
@indiosyncratic echoed this in a tweet: “anti-black coloured people identifying black people as the reason for their struggles and not WHITE PEOPLE will never not be funny”. This tweet generated 677 retweets and 1 400 likes.
@BarbierAbra tweeted: “Verwoerd really did a number on us. Convinced us that being less than White, but more than Black was okay. That mentality remains in many Coloured communities today. What Gatvol doesn't get, is that their plight, is the plight of Black communities country-wide. Coloured=Black.” This was retweeted 732 times and liked over 1 400 times.
The hashtag #FightBackForSouthAfrica trended yesterday, driven by frustration over employment opportunities, with some xenophobic undertones. On Saturday @PatrioticMarc had tweeted: “The ANC government want to replace South Africans with FOREIGNERS… #FightBackForSouthAfrica”. This received some attention yesterday with 149 retweets and 411 likes.
@DanzelaSpha shared an image with the message: “Xenophobia - a word used to bully black South Africans into silence. #FightBackForSouthAfrica we are not against foreigners but we want people to stay in this country legally and people who are useful to this country. Tito Mboweni said small business must be South Africans only. We want to see that happening.” This tweet generated 244 retweets and 963 likes.
Other users urged South African employers to prioritise employing South Africans over foreign nationals. @mudzuthabe [tweeted](https://twitter.com/mudzuthabe/status/1287760218433236995): “Fellow Compatriots, Let's stop supporting companies and businesses that employ foreigners to do jobs which can be done by South Africans. Let's force them to go out there and seek South Africans who need jobs. Young South Africans are hungry and need jobs #FightBackForSouthAfrica”. This tweet received 74 retweets and 139 likes.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s tweet about people stealing funds reserved for COVID-19 relief efforts was followed by many calls for him to take action against corruption. With news of an additional $4.3 billion in COVID-19 relief funding from the IMF, South African Twitter users expressed their doubt over the government’s ability to use this money for its intended purpose.
Mboweni tweeted: “A tender is an ethical contract. It is not a blank cheque to deceive and steal. And stealing from unwell people! During a COVID-19 pandemic! Please people. What kind of people are these criminals?!”. He later tweeted: “We should be working together to defeat the virus. Not see this as an opportunity to defraud the State and unwell people. We are watching you and there has to be consequences. For sure. Game over!”
@ArabileG implored President Cyril Ramaphosa to look at responses from
South Africans on Twitter related to the government's ability to use IMF monetary aid. He concluded: “They Do Not Trust You. Do Something... Please?!”. The tweet has been retweeted more than 1 200 times and received over 3 500 likes.
Commenting on the post, @Wendy94669657 pointed out that “Repayment of the IMF loan will be left to next generations, to pick up that tab. Your unreasonable bans affect generations to come. Your legacy will be a bad taste in their mouths.”
Just four minutes after @ArabileG’s tweet, @TreasuryRSA announced that the IMF executive board had approved the $4.3 billion financial support for South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tweet received more than 400 retweets.
A barrage of negative commentary followed. @MzwaneleManyi commented about a trust deficit, saying that the people were tired. Responding to @MzwaneleManyi’s comment, @tshidilee [said:](https://twitter.com/tshidilee/status/1287974501712564224) “at every turn anything communicated about this loan or corruption is met with so much anger and frustration”.
@sthembete tweeted that the problem was with the ANC and that the people who Mboweni was referring to were his comrades who he should address directly in his morning meeting. This tweet was retweeted more than 1 000 times and received over 3 500 likes.
In response to Moboweni’s tweet, @justicemalala tweeted: “Chief, has no one told you that you guys are running the country? Have been for 26 years? You all speak here like you are civilians. Govern, man!” This post was retweeted more than 450 times and it received over 1 500 likes.
Thuli Madonsela called on Mboweni to stop the ‘rot’ by implementing three proposed actions: greater transparency regarding COVID-19 contracts; passing a False Claims Act, and more funding for the SIU and Assets forfeiture unit to ensure they retrieve funds that have been misappropriated. Her tweet has been retweeted more than 450 times and has received over 1 300 likes.
Lesley Ncube, a 26-year-old Computer Science graduate, has created his own smartphone called Shumi. “Meet 26 year old Lesley Ncube, founder of Thatha, a tech company based in KZN. Last month he graduated with a degree in Computer Science and he already created his own smartphone called Shumi. He designs the software and hardware by himself”, tweeted @DjNewAfrica. The tweet received over 8 000 likes, 4 200 retweets and 125 comments.
@DjNewsAfrica offered sales details for the smartphone: “To buy his smartphone. Visit http://thatha.co.za. It costs R4000 including free delivery.”
Tomi Rikhotso asked why Lesley and his smartphone were not trending. He tweeted, “Haibo a TUT student has created a smartphone why is he not trending? Please protect him. His name is Lesley Ncube.” The tweet received 8 600 likes, 3 400 retweets and 79 comments.
“One thing about me, ima be okay. God NEVER fails!” tweeted Pastor West. The tweet received over 21 000 likes and 8 700 retweets. @Sopharush thanked God for the gift of a new day and protection: “God, Thank You for gifting me with another day. I pray today & the rest of this week, I remain focused on myself & what You have for me. May I protect my time & use it wisely. I don’t want to waste time on things that don’t matter. I want to be more intentional.” This received over 6 700 likes and 3 300 retweets.
“Sometimes the universe will send some people to mirror or trigger you. If you can, don't be too upset when you see yourself in them or when you are triggered, because this is usually a divine reminder for you to observe and examine yourself, or see what you need to feel and heal,” tweeted Inner Practitioner. The tweet received 1 000 likes and 319 retweets.
Meanwhile Deyjah Harris highlighted the challenges one can face when dealing with mental health issues: “it really sucks that those who deal with mental health challenges constantly feel like they are a burden to someone. it’s not fair to us to have to feel this way but it’s not true! you are not a burden for having burdens. you do matter and people would notice if you were gone.” The tweet received 2 600 likes and 840 retweets.
A significant driver of volume for the hashtag #COVID19, was a tweet posted by @ahandvanish yesterday. This twitter account holder shared information about her personal struggle with the virus over the last four months. She still has a fever daily and has lost some cognitive function, among other ailments. The tweet has been retweeted more than 30 000 times and received more than 70 000 likes by this morning.
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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