Xenophobia, nationalism & populism: what’s going on with #PutSouthAfricansFirst?

I worry that a xenophobic flare up is imminent in South Africa. The flames have been fanned for the past few months and we’re poised to reap the bitter harvest. There’s a hashtag that’s been bubbling just under the surface of many Twitter communities that is being used to marshal …

Who ‘owns’ Steve Biko’s legacy?

Steve Biko is a towering figure in the South African mythos. Biko used his voice to communicate ideas about race and power in 1960s and 1970s Apartheid South Africa. The ideas he so eloquently articulated had been moulded by a young, black intelligentsia centred around the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) and these ideas made core ideological contributions to South Africa’s Black Consciousness Movement, of which Biko was a leader.

2018 in review: Are we driving each other apart or are we being driven apart?

As with the rest of the world these days, South Africa is caught in a bittersweet feedback loop between its mainstream politics and what happens on Twitter. Sweet because platforms like Twitter democratise access to political debates; bitter because such platforms also provide an avenue for bad actors to spread …

Social media disinformation: parallels between the US and South African experiences

The website FiveThirtyEight (made famous by its founder, Nate Silver, who accurately predicted the 2012 US elections down to the state level) recently released a dataset of almost three million tweets authored by Russian sockpuppet accounts. The dataset was collated by academics, Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren, of Clemson University. …

3 million Russian ‘troll’ tweets explored: lessons from the rest of the world

This blog usually focuses on South African subjects because there are enough analysts and armchair commentators talking about the shitshow that is American politics at the moment. Be that as it may, I couldn’t stop myself from diving into the dataset of 2,973,371 tweets relating to Russian inteference recently released by …