The week in social media | 11 - 16 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.

From Black Like Me to a Real Political Contender

@HermanMashaba, the founder of hair care company Black Like Me and former mayor of Johannesburg came out strongly against the country’s leadership last week 11 August, perhaps not surprisingly given that he will be launching his own political party on 29 August 2020.

He tweeted a video of Cyril Ramaphosa that has received more than 30 000 views. In the video, Ramaphosa explains that his mission is to keep the ANC united and that he would rather appear weak than to split the party. Commenting on the video, Mashaba says “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.

Later that day Mashaba tweeted a teaser about his party that he will launch on 29 August 2020:

This post was retweeted more than 300 times and it received over 1 400 likes.

South Africans and Other Africans


On 10 August 2020, @SegopotjeNkadi3 tweeted some unverified stats about Johannesburg.

The post was retweeted close to 200 times and it received more than 400 likes. Many of the comments on the post expressed discontent with the ANC government and claimed that they have not done enough to ensure suitable economic transformation for South African citizens. @nkulusyamukela, for example, [commented]( “Not just in Africa, but in the world. SAn must rise up NOW & violently overthrow this ANC regime before its [sic] too late because foreigners are hellbent on taking FULL control of RSA. Already we have surrendered our CBDs to them. Now they are even slowly taking over our townships too”.


@DjNewAfrica retweeted a video of a black girl conducting a make-up tutorial in her native language. The original tweet reads:

The video has been viewed more than 250 000 times and it was retweeted over 5 000 times. @DjNewAfrica’s commentary on the video is that “South Africans will call these people foreigners and call Europeans their people.” This retweet received over 500 retweets and more than 1 000 likes.

Twitter Trends


The concept of hashjacking is not new to South African social media. Last week social media narratives were dominated by stories that had little to do with the hashtags they were associated with - a common tactic used to gain followers or detract from other pertinent social issues on social media.

Two posts used trending hashtags including #alcoholban, #influencerchallenge and #SimphiweNgema and highly emotive posts to gain followers, likes and retweets.

In one post, Twitter user @LindisiphoSiyi1 became the fourth most mentioned tweeter of the day by posting: “Plz help us find #SandiswaRum. Last seen on Monday after work at Nyanga Police station! We recently got a call from the strangers and she’s crying on the background!! Please retweet as much as possible !! Siceluncedo! #AlcoholBan #SimphiweNgema #influencerchallange” followed by an urgent “Guys!! Those people keep calling us and she is crying on the background”. The original post received over 11 500 retweets and nearly 4 000 likes. The post was accompanied by pictures of a young woman, including one of her in a police uniform. Many users questioned why the information and phone calls were not being taken to the police instead of posting on Twitter. Another user reported that Rum had been found.

@GiftMogoboya, took a harrowing original tweet posted on 11 August that gained mass traction and reposted it using the hashtag #InfluencerChallenge claiming it as their own: “This guys raped my niece on WOMENS DAY In Diepsloot he is in hiding. I will post his face everywhere until someone says I saw him ko shoprite in Giyani or something. She is just 9 years old! Pls RT guys.




The post failed to gain mass traction compared to the original post which garnered over 15 200 retweets, possibly due to sophisticated social media users catching on quickly, and questions remain over whether Twitter users are exploiting emotive topics such as GBV to gain likes and followers.

iPhone Giveaways

Many Twitter account holders tweeted about iPhone giveaways over the last few days. A few months ago, the 24 Hour Trend report (which features on The Daily Maverick and is compiled by the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change) covered the story of a fake mobile phone “giveaway” -it was later learnt that the images of winners were from an actual mobile phone giveaway competition in South America. Images of people posing with phones were given South African names and labelled as winners.

On 12 August @FaithNketsi_SA_, a parody account who uses the name of a South African celebrity and explains in their bio that they are “NOT AFFILIATED WITH Faith Nketsi AKA Queen Twerk”, tweeted the image of a young black woman holding a mobile phone and congratulating Mbali Gumede as the winner of the iPhone. One would assume from reading the tweet and looking at the image that the woman in the image is Mbali Gumede BUT, this cannot be confirmed based on the information in the post. @ProlificEmpire responded to the tweet and [said](

This shows that Twitter users are wising up to the tactics of the parody accounts in relation to fake competitions. The tweet about “Mbali Gumede” still however received more than 1 000 retweets and close to 2 000 likes.

Job Seekers

At 13:12, @DlalaPower [put out a call]( on Twitter for people to retweet his post in the hope that he could find employment. He explained that he had sent out many CVs and hadn't received a single call. He also said that he holds a National Diploma in labour law. His post has been retweeted more than 6 500 times and it received close to 5 000 likes. Responders to the tweet offered helpful tips to encourage the job seeker to continue. @PusoMotidi suggested that he review the formatting of his CV as it may be the layout more than the content that is dissuading potential employers from making contact with him.

@Zizipho45929119 tweeted that she was desperate and in search of a job. She would appreciate anything that was given to her. The post was retweeted more than 3 000 times and it received close to 4 000 likes. The image that appears with the tweet displays a young woman holding a sign that announces her qualification (a B-Tech in Local Government Finance). The account that posted this tweet was created in July 2020 and contains only tweets about Zizipho looking for employment, first on 22 July 2020 and then again on 11 August 2020.08.17

@iGrootman[tweeted]( about a vacancy for a candidate attorney. Within the comments of the tweet he posted more vacancies for candidate attorneys at law firms like Shepstone & Wylie indicating that there are jobs available for those with the right qualifications. This post was retweeted more than 400 times as people tried to spread the word of the available positions.

Public Safety

South Africans’ concerns about crime and gender-based violence continue to dominate online conversations. The number five topic by volume, ‘south’, had over 23 000 mentions, and featured numerous tweets about the suspected serial killer active on the South Coast in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Kwa-Zulu Natal Serial Killer

News that a suspected serial killer was active on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal has been trending, with many users appealing to women who live in the area to be safe. A tweet by @duke_kdj criticised Minister of Police Bheki Cele, saying he was not interested in dealing with the serial killer as the case does not involve enforcing lockdown regulations.

@dukekdj’s tweet was liked 3 200 times and retweeted 2 000 times by today. Comments on @dukekdj’s tweet were broadly supportive of his sentiment, although some did note that Bheki Cele was the Minister and cannot physically address individual crime incidents.

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-Based Violence has been a major concern for South Africans, featuring repeatedly as a top-topic in the online conversation in recent months. Yesterday local celebrity Maps Maponyane tweeted: “Don't make Her feel uncomfortable. Don't harass Her. Don't touch Her. Don't beat Her. Don't rape Her. Don't kill Her… Just leave Her alone. It's THAT simple”. His tweet received extensive positive engagement, with 11 000 likes and almost 4 000 retweets in under a day.

President announces Level 2 – woohoo

While the President addressed the nation on Saturday night, @PresidencyZA tweeted an image of what level 2 implied for the nation. The primary focus of the tweet was the lift of the ban on alcohol and tobacco products as well as the re-opening of gyms. The post was retweeted more than 1 400 times. Asking about the events planning industry,

@kazabaluc[responded]( to the post: “Mr.President, how about events and weddings. We need to make also a living. You allow people to smoke and booze out their lives.We work in the wedding industry and we must make a living. I have spent 5 months without an income or salary and without food”. @KhosiMthethwa [responded]( to the comment suggesting that if 50 people are allowed, they can take precautions at the weekend to ensure that people socially distance however @johnlafiesta explained to him that “There is no profit with 50 people unless the cost is tripled”.


A primary driver for the weekend, #voetsekANC trended with over 55 000 mentions of the hashtag in reference to recent corruption allegations surrounding COVID-19 PPE tenders. The conversation seems to have emerged to all-out calls of the removal of the national ruling party.


Top tweets over the weekend called for the removal of the ANC with #RemoveANCfromPower trending. Twitter user @RaimundoMontana posted “It is clear now, more than ever, that the only way South Africa will RISE is if the ANC FALLS! #RemoveANCfromPower#VoetsekANC”.

Another Twitter user took to social media to unite South Africans along lines of race and class to push for the removal of the ruling party questioning

The tweet garnered over 1 000 likes, retweets and comments.

ANC Governance in the Spotlight

Two tweets over the weekend triggered social media users to question if the ANC’s grip on good governance had slipped entirely. Twitter user @dramadelinquent posted

The tweet received over 550 likes and 118 retweets and comments at the time of writing.

Another user posted a tweet alongside a new story titled “#Hawks swoop on warehouse in Mokopane seizing 42 boxes of illicit cigarettes” urging the Hawks to reconsider their priorities “There is a serial killer targeting Black women in KZN. Right now! Priorities guys. PLEASE!!!😢”. The post hit home with many thousands as the tweet received over 2 000 likes and 1 600 retweets.

Another emerging story over the weekend further highlighted the scourge of corruption within the party as the Hawks arrested an Eastern Cape municipal manager and two others for fraud and money laundering worth R29m. Twitter user @Mbusobanziii shared the story alongside “An arrest? In sataa? Linked to financial crime? RT for good luck”. Pessimism and frustration amongst South Africans was evident as the post was retweeted over 2 400 times in addition to being liked 1 600 times. A top comment stated “I doubt this will even go anywhere. An arrest means nothing in South Africa.”

Marikana Massacre

16 August marked the 8 year anniversary of the tragic Marikana Massacre. #MarikanaMassacre trended with over 12 000 mentions on South African Twitter. The conversation quickly took a political turn as many vocalised President Ramaphosa’s alleged involvement in the massacre. The EFF came out guns blazing posting “The Economic Freedom Fighters marks the 8th Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre. On this day 34 miners were brutally murdered by an ANC-regime in defence of the mining industry and white-monopoly capital. In a perverted collusion between the state and Lonmin, a conspiracy to characterise workers demanding a living-wage as criminals was devised, and the sitting

Deputy President of the time and Non-Executive Director of Lonmin, Cyril Ramaphosa called for concomitant action to be taken against workers.”

The SABC News official Twitter was mellow on the blame-game but also took to social media to highlight:

However, foreign editor for the SABC, Sophie Mokoena did not hold back the punches as she posted “My last commenton Marikana.President Cyril Ramaphosa do the right thing as you have promised Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela. I was there. Ntate Cyril Ramaphosa ensure that those who are responsible do implement the reparation process please please.Have a good day My President.” The tweet received nearly 550 likes over 200 retweets and comments at the time of writing.

About the 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.