The week in social media | 27 July - 02 August 2020

Every day we observe, dissect and analyse the news and information driving the conversations around the week’s most topical issues on social media. These are the highlights you should know about. Remember we quote tweets verbatim so any grammar or spelling mistakes are as they appear in the tweet.

Tito tells it like it is

Finance minister Tito Mboweni posted 2 tweets on 26 July 2020 that received criticism from other prominent figures in the country. At 23:41, 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?!”. Then at 23:44, he 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!”

Responding to his first tweet, @sthembete tweeted that the problem lies with the ANC and that the people who Mboweni is referring to are 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.

Both Justice Malala and Thuli Madonsela responded to Mboweni’s later 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.

Madonsela called on Mboweni to stop the ‘rot’ by implementing three proposed actions: firstly, she calls for greater transparency regarding COVID-19 contracts; secondly, she asked that a False Claims Act be passed, and thirdly she asked for more funding for the SIU and Assets forfeiture unit to ensure that they are able to act more swiftly to retrieve funds that have been misappropriated in the name of COVID-19. Her tweet has been retweeted more than 450 times and has received over 1 300 likes.

Proudly South African! New Smartphone founded by black entrepreneur.

“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.

A comment from @DjNewsAfrica offering all the sales details for the smartphone, “To buy his smartphone. Visit It costs R4000 including free delivery.” Kulani tweeted, “26 year old Lesley Ncube, a TUT graduate has created a smartphone called "Shumi". The vision was realised through his hardware and software development company Thatha. The phone is set to retail for R4000.” The tweet received over 1 800 likes and 740 retweets. Tomi Rikhotso asked in shock why Lesley and his smartphone aren’t 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.

Covid-19 is a pandemic of corruption in South Africa

Twitter users took to their accounts to comment on the state of COVID-19 in South Africa. AdvoBarryRoux shared how the virus has evolved in different countries

The tweet received over 8 100 likes, 1 800 retweets and 189 comments, with users highlighting the corruption and looting that has taken place during the pandemic in South Africa. @akreana highlighted the Government’s double standards in enforcing lockdown regulations, specifically the 50 people funeral attendance limit. She tweeted “The 50 people thing does not apply ?,” after pictures of ANC freedom fighter Andrew Mlangeni’s funeral surfaced. The tweet which received over 4 000 likes, 1 200 retweets and 307 comments, was a reply to Minister Fikile Mbalula’s pictorial tweet of over 50 ANC members and SANDF attending Andrew Mlangeni’s funeral.

COVID-19 cure-claim viral video ends up as a conversation about race

A video of Dr Stella Immanuel proclaiming that she has used zinc and hydroxychloroquine to successfully treat over 350 COVID-19 positive patients, with only one death, has been circulating on social media.

In the video shared by @Volqx, the Doctor states that she has also used the hydroxychloroquine with her staff as it works in the prevention of COVID-19. The video received over 3 000 views, 578 likes and 277 retweets. Former Fox New Medical team doctor, Dr. David Samadi tweeted, “The most important thing is to SAVE THE LIVES of the American people. If hydroxychloroquine works, which there is a lot of evidence in its favor, then a patient should be able to take it if the doctor wants to prescribe it. Government needs to stay out of this!” The tweet received over 11 400 likes and 5 400 retweets.

Luyanda Zwane tweeted, “Not even 2 seconds after I posted that video of the black women finding a cure??? STRANGE!!!”

This tweet referred to Twitter locking her account after she posted the video of Dr Stella Immanuel, stating that Dr Immanuel has found a cure and the World Health Organisation needs to listen to her. The post received 4 600 likes, 2 000 retweets and 224 comments, with one user, @Moratiwa replying that Dr Immanuel might be making false claims as the video is being removed on all social media platforms. Overall Twitter users seem torn about Dr Immanuel’s hydroxychloroquine claims, some stating that it is unscientific news and that she works for Trump, while others seem to believe her, stating that she is being discredited because she is a Black woman.

Distrust in the ANC

By 29 July, sentiment on social media showed a growing distrust in the ANC and its leaders. The three narratives under this theme are largely based on the ongoing corruption and looting by government officials. Twitter users have been voicing their frustrations, calling for action against corruption and the downfall of the ruling party using the hashtag #ANCMustFall. The theme was mainly driven by the topic “Jacob Zuma” under top topics by snapshot and “people” under top topics by volume with over 69 000 mentions.

Growing mistrust

Some South Africans are taking to social media to vocalise their frustrations with our current leadership, and expose alleged corruption. @Advovolicious shared a video of people pouring water from a truck into a field.

The tweet received over 96 800 views, 1 000 likes, 736 retweets and 125 comments, including a media statement image from the KwaZulu MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs requesting an explanation of the water truck dumping video.

@LvovoSA posted a video of a man sharing his frustrations with corruption in South Africa and how everyone appears to be corrupt including ward councillors, children of leaders and labour brokers. He tweeted, “Country hambile bafethu. The people we trust to make our lives better are stealing our livelihoods! We are being robbed of the lives we deserve to live! Time to revolt!!!”

The video tweet received over 13 800 views, 1 300 likes and 790 retweets. While Naledi shared a call for action against supporting failing revolutionary parties. She tweeted, “Youths don't owe these revolutionary parties anything! ANC, ZANU PF etc. They have failed us! We have to assemble the broken pieces and rebuild Africa. Good morning!” The tweet received 1 000 likes and 260 retweets. President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a new regulation that allows law enforcement agencies to use evidence presented at the Zondo Commission, “Pres. @CyrilRamaphosahas signed new regulations that allow evidence from the Zondo Commission to be accessed and used by law enforcement agencies, such as the Hawks & the NPA.” shared Kgauza Lecowza. The tweet received 483 likes and 187 retweets.


This tweet received 462 likes and 189 retweets.

This was one of many posts expressing displeasure with the ANC, as the hashtag #ANCMustFall began trending. @BINLANDEN_SA shared, “ANC is an organisation of friends and families not masses. #ANCMustFall”. The tweet received 591 likes and 123 retweets. @AdvoBarryRoux posted, “Young people are in the ANC with the hope that their turn to loot will come one day.” The tweet received over 6 000 likes, 1 400 retweets and 291 with users agreeing with the tweet.

Meanwhile Neli Ngqulana asked people to campaign against the ANC within their communities in a tweet that read, “During the next election campaign season, as citizens we must also run our own door to door and remind each other why we should not vote for the ANC. Because whoa, we can't live like this.” The tweet received over 1 700 likes, 871 retweets and 82 comments, with people replying that they won’t be voting while some asked for suggestions on who to vote for. Senamela Thabo asked that we vote for EFF in 2021, “2021 we are voting @EFFSouthAfrica akere bazalwane, can I get Amen🙏. #ANCMustFall.” The video tweet filled with EFF members received over 11 200 views, 1 000 likes and 165 retweets. WhileChristoasked South Africans that even against the mounting corruption and looting, to keep hope alive. He tweeted, “Bazalwane, don't lose hope in South Africa. We are beautiful people. We have a great country. We have the intellectual power to create a better tomorrow. We can work together! But we must unite and drive out boloi bo corruption. Enough is enough!” The tweet received over 1 200 likes and 246 retweets.

As we head into women’s month…we celebrate black female excellence

Black women in history

Trevor Noah used his The Daily Show account to post a video describing how Black women who contributed to the American social justice movements are being erased.

In the video he details how half a million Black women supported the Suffrage Movement (a movement to win the right to vote for women), yet their support has been minimised and erased from American history. Trevor details how both white women and black men were happy to ignore the contribution of Black females in the Suffrage movement, highlighting how Black women faced both racial and gender discrimination. The video tweet received over 53 400 views, 1 600 likes and 509 retweets.

Black female entrepreneurs

Silindokuhle shared a post wishing Black women the best with entrepreneurial ventures.

Meanwhile two Black women promoted their businesses. Cindy Khan promoted her new hair online business, Luna Lux Hair, “Thank you so so much for viewing my site. I will let you know when you guys can shop seamlessly. I don't wanna do a half job . for now go browse & see what you like 🤍” The tweet received over 2 400 likes and 643 retweets.

@Tori commented on a tweet about a woman who started a hair business inspired by her alopecia condition. Tori tweeted, “Innovative. She struggles with alopecia (a very prominent thing amongst black women) and she made it for herself and now selling and making it for other women. I love to see it.” The tweet received 258 400 likes and 48 400 retweets.


Thanks to the release of Beyoncé Knowles’ latest movie (Black Is King) in South Africa, #Blackisking was the highest trending hashtag over the weekend. #BlackisKing was also one of the top 3 highest volume posts over the weekend, featuring both praise for the artist and criticism of some of her style choices.

I Love Beyoncé

On 31 July 2020, the like symbol changed from a heart to a gold image from the movie Black is King when the like button was clicked. In order for this to happen, you had to like a post containing the hashtag #BlackisKing. A similar feature was implemented for #blackjoy. Commenting on the changing like icon on Twitter, @MA”BIN2[tweeted](“wow I love Beyoncé”.Although the feature may not be available anymore, the post was still retweeted more than 23 000 times and it received close to 500 000 likes.

On 1 August 2020, @landzygama tweeted “I didn’t think it was possible to love Beyoncé more than I already do.”This post was retweeted close to 400 times and liked 1 300 times. The comments to the post echoed @landzygama’s sentiment.

On 2 August 2020, @magghiee tweeted a lookt hat she had recreated from Beyoncé’s new movie.The video posted in the tweet shows a step by step tutorial explaining how she achieved the look.It has been viewed more than 42 000 times.

Later that day, @busiswaah thanked God for Beyoncé’s life and “the realizations you’ve created for millions of young girls, but particularly for girls in my hometown of Mthatha, South Africa.” The video accompanying this tweet has been viewed more than 90 000 times and the post received more than 10 000 likes.

Gender-based violence – an issue that will never go away until the violence against women stops.

The topic of gender-based violence received significant traction over the weekend. On Friday 31 July 2020, @Mothupii shared a cartoon image of a person vomiting alongside the message, “august is coming. ‘women’s month’. it’s gonna be 31 days of cringeworthy grandstanding, from the government and men, pretending to give a shit about women and talmbout “gents, we need to do better”. This tweet got 100 retweets and 55 likes.

Others used their platforms to encourage conversations related to gender-based violence.

On 2 August 2020, @rosinapaledi shared a screenshot promoting a Youtube video alongside the message, “there’s a new case up! ” The tweet received 685 retweets and over 1 000 likes. This tweet gained traction, receiving over 1 200 retweets and 1 800 likes.

On the same day, news outlet @SundayTimesZA shared an article titled, “I did not die, but after I was raped something in me died”. The tweet read “A 91-year-old KwaZulu-Natal woman wants to know the identity of her rapist before she dies.” This generated 379 retweets and 349 likes.

Issued by the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change. Visit

About CABC

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.