Black Twitter on the Rise in South Africa

Middle-class Blacks in the country are making their presence known using the social media platform.

Posted: 03/11/2013 11:15 AM EDT
Black Twitter on the Rise in South Africa

In the mainstream media, South Africa's story often focuses on Nelson Mandela's legacy and the old horrific days of apartheid. But a new generation of Black South Africans are creating a new narrative about their lives and world views using Twitter as their tool.

In America, studies show Blacks are more social on Twitter than any other groups and use the space to discuss hot topics in their community. Similarly, Black South Africans are carving their own voice in the social space, according to Yahoo! News.

They tweet about everything from pop culture to politics and use a mix of English and their native languages when sharing their views on the social platform.  

Yahoo! News reports:

19 years after the end of apartheid in South Africa, the country’s formerly white-dominated media outlets have become significantly more diverse. But in a country renowned for its social inequality, many feel they still represent a particular and narrow version of the new South Africa.

Enter the so-called Black Twitter, a loose community of Black tweeters using the short-form platform to add their own voices to the fray.

“We're a part of [the media], but our manner of discussion, it's subordinate to a center and that center is suburban and white,” says Nomalanga Mkhize (@NomalangaSA), a historian. Twitter, on the other hand, is a "space where we don't have to explain to anyone when we say, 'We are Black in South Africa' and what that means.”

That means that views on the latest single from Justin Bieber might sit next to criticism of the West’s involvement in Syria and sympathetic comments about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Twitter is "a free online platform where Black voices can assert themselves and their views without editors or publishers deciding if their views matter,” says Unathi Kondile (@unathikondile), a journalism lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

Being that only 21 percent of South Africans have Internet access, Black twitter is usually tweets from suburban middle-class Blacks in the country.

Read the full story here.


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(Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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