The Diepsloot 7 report

Between 7 and 8 April 2022, The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change was alerted to an online narrative that surfaced following the death of a Zimbabwean man named Elvis Nyathi in Diepsloot on 6 April 2022. News of Nyathi’s death was revealed as tensions continue to build about the work of an organisation called Operation Dudula. Operation Dudula is a self-appointed watchdog on the issue of illegal immigrants. Some claim that  they play an alleged role in the sale of drugs and the perpetuation of violent crime  in South Africa. This narrative is reminiscent of the Trumpean campaign tactics that were used ahead of the 2016 US elections, in which Mexicans, neighbours to the United States of America, were portrayed as a scourge to US citizens and scapegoated as criminals who were not only said to be stealing the jobs of US citizens, but also raping and killing their women and children and flooding communities with drugs. Understanding these previously used tactics for narrative manipulation online, this report dives into the conversation that took place on Twitter between 5 and 10 April 2022 to make sense of the information that was being shared.

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