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The Power of Social Media, In the GBV Protest

With xenophobic attacks and the concern of violence against women, South Africa has had its fair share of upsets in the last few weeks, nonetheless, one positive tool that has been used in mobilising people is social media.

When a UCT student got raped and killed in a post office, this lit the already sparking sparks into flames and the people were mobilised organising a march, that forced the President Cyril Rhamaposa to appear and make a speech. It must be quite evident now, the power social media has in a democracy and enforcing those who are in power to be accountable.

South Africa is a parliamentary democracy, but last week’s protests had warped it into a direct democracy where the country’s ailing issues, in this case crime affecting women and children being addressed. And although promises were made (and they may not be kept) the unprecedented protest made the head of state come out. These ills did happen twenty years ago, however, the internet back then, was still a baby compared to traditional media. Now, something may happen and before it reaches TV within seconds is being viewed in thousands to millions of phones, locally and internationally. Yes, there are cons, however, they are also positives. The internet still relatively being unregulated, allows freedom of information and it may be fake (fake news) but this liberalisation, removes the distribution of information from the few and gives it to the many. It allows people to mobilise, and most all, it forces people to be aware and the issues to discussed.

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