Mis/disinformation report on the 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE2021)

I contributed a chapter to the South African Disinformation Project‘s report on last year’s Local Government Elections which was released in January 2022. These elections were a watershed for South Africa in a few ways: The hegemony of the ruling ANC party has been severely challenged and many believe it’s …

The second State Capture Report visualised: the capture of Transnet & Denel

My collaborator, Thembani Phaweni, and I have been visualising the State Capture Inquiry’s reports as they’ve been released. You can read about the first visualisation here. Below is a breakdown of what the second report looks like as a network visualisation (technically a ‘named entity co-occurence network‘). Data visualisation is …

The first State Capture report visualised: SAA and Guptas’ media empire

Data visualisation can be a useful way of making sense of complex topics. Over the past few years, Thembani Phaweni and I have taken to visualising important state capture documents as networks that show the main entities, and clusters of entities involved. We’ve done it for Thuli Madonsela’s State of …

A diminished MAGA South Africa

South Africa’s political discourse is robust and relatively diverse. However, this ideological diversity tends to stick within well-defined echo chambers (that often align along racial lines). The white body politic consists of many sub-groups that span the gamut from Far Left to Far Right, and it’s the Far Right that …

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 …