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 18 August 2020.
The stabbing to death of Kwasa Lugalo, allegedly by her former boyfriend, trended yesterday. Her death created an outcry over the horrifying extent of gender-based violence in South Africa.
“Her name was Kwasa Lugalo. She was 19 years old. She was a Wits University student. She was stabbed to death by her boyfriend. No justice, no peace. #JusticeForKwasa” posted @Detective_Iffy. The post received 826 likes and 433 retweets.
Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi shared: “My little sister’s friend, a beautiful joy to me and my family. She was stabbed to death by a boy because she didn’t want him. I don’t even know what to say. Ngxesi Malebomvu ntombi encinci. Uphumle ngoxolo. #JusticeForKwasa #RIPKwasa.” The tweet garnered over 19 600 likes and 6 500 retweets by this morning.
@SimplyGoitse_ posted: “Last year August Uyinene a 19 year old was brutally murdered by a man we’re a week away from the anniversary of her death and Kwasa a 19 year old girl has been brutally murdered by her ex boyfriend. When will this end?” The tweet received over 3 800 likes and 2 200 retweets.
@EihleGwala sent her condolences to Kwasa’s family: “My heart bleeds for Kwasa’s family. I am so angry that again we have to be angry that another woman has died at the hands of a man. I’m angry our government still hasn’t responded accordingly to GBV. What are we gonna blame this time? Alcohol again? #JusticeForKwasa.” The tweet received 3 300 likes and 1 700 retweets.
Following news of Kwasa’s death, Twitter conversation quickly began to reflect the reality that South African women face over GBV.
At 10:11 @VilakaziSoul tweeted: “Killing a girl because she dumped you? What is happening in South Africa?” This post was retweeted more than 1 800 times.
Responders to the tweet called for the accused to be named and shamed. Other responders advised that he had killed himself. It was later revealed that the attempt on his own life was not successful and that he was under police supervision at a hospital.
@Mphosssible felt that harsher punishment was needed for men who kill. She tweeted: “Men will still kill us because they want to. Until they pass a bill to hang all those who kill another day another #justiceforkwasa #ripkwasa”. This post was retweeted more than 1 100 times.
@suzebaby changed her Twitter name to JusticeForKwasa and [tweeted](https://twitter.com/suzebaby/status/1295639390656630786): “I’m actually so sad. The lives and safety of South African women and children is a joke. No matter what we say or do, it falls on deaf ears. My heart hurts.” @teemagadlela [tweeted](https://twitter.com/teemagadlela/status/1295707008633577474): “PRAY FOR SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN” and @erinjpg tweeted: “SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN DESERVE BETTER”.
@baluciaga tweeted a thread that received close to 4 000 retweets and more than 4 000 likes. Thetweet shows women in South Africa protesting against gender-based violence. @baluciaga listed other South African women who were murdered recently. #weremember Tshegofatso Pule appears with her image.
South African celebrity @casspernyovest joined the conversation, calling on President Ramaphosa to take stricter action against perpetrators of violent crimes against women and children. His post was retweeted close to 4 000 times and received more than 12 000 likes.
@Muzi37361964 responded that the death penalty was the only way. But @masetimazwi [explained](https://twitter.com/masetimazwi/status/1295779258086850560) that the protection of all lives was enshrined in South Africa’s Bill of Rights.
@jodakgosii tweeted: “GBV is the most pervasive form of human rights violations and prevents women and girls from reaching their full potential. It is an obstacle to women living dignified lives, free from fear.” This post has been retweeted more than 800 times. This was followed by: “What has the government done about it? They lied and told us that all accused sexual offenders would not be granted bail. Oh and that useless 16 days of activism thing they did last year”.
Conversation around deep inequalities in South Africa around race, class, and income trended on social media yesterday.
F1 driver Lewis Hamilton tweeted: “One day I hope we’ll all be seen as equal. Until then, it’s #BlackLivesMatter always.” His post received 37 000 likes and more than 5 000 retweets and comments.
Influencer Steven Crowder authored a tweet expressing an opposing viewpoint: “Good morning to everyone but Antifa and #BlackLivesMatter.” Crowder’s post also gained traction with 14 000 likes and 1 400 comments and shares. Most comments supported his opposition to the Antifa and Black Lives Matter movements.
News 24 tweeted an article based on a quote by the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu: “there is no black person that can be racist”. He also said that “the death of George Floyd is an opportunity for the world to deal with racism.” The post garnered over 1 000 likes and 400 retweets and comments. Some agreed with Shivambu, saying: “Only white people can be racists.” Others disagreed: “the definition of racism it means when a certain race of people believe that they are superior to others, so tell me with what is happening to blacks all around the world is it possible for us to think that we are superior??”
@MatlhagaKebo tweeted about South Africa’s middle class and the NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme), posting a statement from NSFAS about the recent unfunding of 5 000 students and claiming it was a result of corruption. The user highlighted the difficulty experienced by middle class students: “they carry the tax system on their backs and yet, their children are too rich for NSFAS but too poor to afford their own fees.” The post received over 1 600 comments and retweets and 3 000 likes.
@TheRealJKhanye wrote: “it feels good to have my own car again” in a post that was well received on Twitter with 500 comments and retweets and nearly 10 000 likes.
Prince Kaybee authored a post with two images, one with an older model Volkswagen and the other with a high-end sports car. The caption read “Worked so hard, God knows.” This tweet was liked 5 000 times and was commented on and retweeted 500 times.
Power of Love
Amid the torrent of tweets speaking out against GBV on the day, came a few that reflected on the power of love and relationships.
@CandieModiselle authored a tweet praising the power of “being soft and in love,” reassuring other Twitter users that “one day it will all come back to you.” The post was like 1 500 times with 300 retweets and comments.
But not everyone agreed
@THISisLULE weighed in on the matter, tweeting: “As humans, I really think we have made romantic love too much of a priority. Half the time it’s not even the most enduring love but people will legit blow up their entire lives for it.” This comment gained considerable traction with 2 500 likes and 1 000 comments and retweets. Comments were largely in favour of her sentiment: “I genuinely think we can survive without romantic love,” and “I absolutely agree.”
“People are not ours to keep. When falling in love, you need to be comfortable with the fact that the person you love can pack up anytime and leave. There’s peace in that,” shared @SteviedaHustle. @Cabanga Maluleka posted “Stop dating people who are not interested in your personal development, life is beyond McDonald’s and Nando’s.” Both tweets received a combined 4 200 likes and 1 317 retweets.
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The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) is a non-profit organisation. 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.