This past week I have been following South African news through the lens of social media. I have watched youtube skit shows like “xhosa boys” and explored through different instagram tags. As part of our media experiment, I explored “South African Trends” through the twitter app on a regular basis. A lot of tweets were about recent rugby games and many were just pictures of cute animals. However, I noticed that most of the tweets that were trending were focused on political discussion, particularly funny things about state capture and governmental corruption. A few tweets were about the “white genocide” farm murders that Trump cast into an international light, accented with the #stopfarmmurders hashtag. Most of the tweets that were centered around this issue seemed to be coming from those outside South Africa and appeared to be trending because they were being responded to by South Africans. For example, one tweet by British pundit Katie Hopkins about “white genocide in South Africa” was particularly popular.
It was interesting to see how many of the trended media was centered around highly political discussions. Perhaps this is in part due to the algorithm targeting my politically oriented use of twitter. Even if that is true, I felt like this experiment allowed me to see different opinions on issues than one might see in traditional news media. It was really interesting to see how people discussed state capture in particular, because we have dealt with that particular issue in my job at the Women’s Legal Centre.