How social media shaped – and shamed – SA in 2015

It’s that time of the year when we start introspecting about the highs and lows of 2015, and where better to do that than on social media?

From student protests to celebrity tiffs, Twitter made sure South Africans got their bite-sized outrage, rants and reflections trending.

Under the hashtag #ThingsTo-BeLeftIn2015 this week, we were reminded of the events that had us hammering away at the keyboards of our phones or laptops.

On a serious note, there was:

#FeesMustFall
The nationwide protests against fee increases and the outsourcing of cleaning staff in higher education institutions is undoubtedly the year’s biggest talking point.

Students used social media, particularly Twitter, to express their views and galvanise support for the protests. They also exposed barbaric acts of police ­violence and intimidation.

In the end, their demands for a ­no-fee increase and an end to outsourcing were met by some institutions, but the fight for access to affordable education is far from over.

#DianneKohlerBarnard
In a humiliating lesson on how not to use social media, Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard shared a Facebook post that called for the return of former apartheid- era president PW “Groot Krokodil” Botha. Cue Twitter outrage, and punishment – she was expelled for bringing the party into disrepute.

See what happens when you press “share” or “tweet” without reading? Here’s hoping Kohler Barnard and others have learned their lesson – tweeting without thinking must fall!

#Load-shedding
Eskom chief Brian Molefe announced that there will likely be no load-shedding until at least April 30 2016. Well, that’s frankly not good enough – we’d like our lights on. Give us a break, Eskom. We demand lasting solutions.

#ZumaNumbers
Hopefully Number 1 will take time during the December holidays to practice how to read numbers out loud and accurately. I still don’t understand why it’s called a “prepared speech for delivery” if the person who delivers the speech didn’t even practise reading the numbers before addressing the nation. Mr President, take us seriously.

#CassperNyovestvsAKA
The feud between AKA and Cassper Nyovest, whose “diss tracks” of each other have divided hip-hop fans, must end. Their fans continue to trade blows on Twitter, but others are long over the drama. Gents, please stop acting like schoolboys.

Now on to the more entertaining tweets that came out of #ThingsToBeLeftIn2015.

As for me, the things I’d like to see the back of this year are trolls, skinny jeans, black tax, stolen tweets, nyaope and snake pastors.

Sthembiso Sithole is the Mail & Guardian’s social media editor.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories