Out with the Old and In with the New – Social Media trends in SA

out with the old

As we say goodbye to Winter and welcome the warm tones of Spring, it would be a good idea to look at the trends that kept us entertained throughout the year.

We saw the rise of TikTok, Instagram Lives, video conferencing Apps such as Zoom and House Party and trends that kept many across the world hopeful that there is still some good regardless of the pandemic. While we know that it becomes difficult for anything in the online world to stay relevant for more than 3 months, we decided to look at 5 social media trends that have characterised 2020 for the millennial and Gen Z individuals.

TikTok sensation – When people Zol

If there is anything about South Africans, it’s that we can’t keep a straight face even when we’re going through difficult times. The 2020 pandemic brought with it harsh realities such as the ban of tobacco products in the attempt to reduce the number of individuals with weak raspatory systems. Many were unhappy about this – the British American Tobacco SA is still fighting tooth and nail for the ban to be lifted so that jobs can be saved, and investments not lost. Former health minister and current Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma made a statement earlier this year explaining how the actions of “zolling” which is rolling up a makeshift cigarette to smoke, can contribute to the spread of the virus due to its nature of being shared amongst a group of people. One South African took her statement and remixed it alongside a dance beat. Of course, we saw South Africans, such as popular media personality dancing along to the popular song.



Instagram Challenges

From the black and white images that showed solidarity with femicide survivors in Turkey to the blackout images which supported the American Black Lives Matter movement, the popular photo-sharing app, Instagram was set ablaze with socio-economic trends this year. Not only did these trends bring the much-needed attention to the problems around the world, but the awareness has resulted in donations being raised and petitions being signed to reinforce more effective ways in which those affected can be assisted.


Twitter hashtags

Known for its human element and no-nonsense nature, Twitter has been instrumental over the last few months for exposing corrupt government officials in South Africa and bringing light to the socio-economic issues which plague the country. The App, however, has also helped bring relief for many who were burdened by the finical realities of lockdown. Many who struggled to buy food for their families went on to Twitter for assistance and were blessed by good Samaritans who were willing to share the little they had with each other. The element of ubuntu, which seems to be embedded in many South Africans hearts seems to sine brighter during stressful times such as these.

Engaging Advertisements

One thing native to South Africans is a good advert that has us talking for weeks to come, and Chicken Licken got that right. Their latest advert looked at all that the country has experienced since the start of 2020. The brand found a way to merge all of this and formed a great visual reminder that “We’re going to be okay”. From taking severe lockdown contraventions to turning them into satirical humour, locals laughed their worries away with the takeaway brand while subtly reminded to buy their food. Clever right?

African borders merged

South African’s willingly adopted a young Kenyan media sensation, Elsa Majimbo, nicknamed by South Africans “Mpho” which means gift, due to her easy-going, funny Instagram videos which seemed to resonate with most young citizens by gifting them with laughter. Her humorous gifts quickly took root in SA and took away the melancholy felt by many during the lockdown. Her non-sugar coated realities of a young African girl who dreams of fame and all the money in the world to buy as many takeaways as she wants, and finding love, have been recorded in her most natural stay-at-home state. Many have seen her as an inspiration, as she even found herself in the Chicken Licken advert.

South Africa to the World with Jerusalem

Chart climbing song by local artists master KG and Nomcebo has been making waves all over the world with their hit song Jerusalem. Thanks to TikTok and YouTube, the song, which comes with a dance, has gained popularity in countries such as Greece and Canada, and has garnered an incredible 65 million views. This is a first for the country – having a local song gain more popularity overseas has labelled Master KG as one of the most celebrated artists in 2020. This has even rallied protest of the South African Music Awards (SAMA’s) which did not nominate the song in any of its categories.

The power of social has proved itself to be instrumental during lockdown – boasting the ability to either #cancel an individual or organisation, or further boost their fame. With the world gearing up to embrace the new normal which may be heavily influenced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution which can be dubbed as the “technology of things”, it becomes quite evident that the internet is fast becoming a driving force for globalisation. With countries such as China and the USA leading the trend, developing countries such as South Africa get to enjoy the benefits and have fun with the results. What remains of the year will yet to experienced on social media, and we can’t wait to write on it.

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