Transnational hashtag protest movements and emancipatory politics in Africa: A three country study

Keywords: #EndSARS, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Eswatini

Abstract

This study explores three of sub-Saharan Africa’s hashtag movements: Zimbabwe’s #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, Eswatini’s #EswatiniLivesMatter and Nigeria’s #EndSARS hashtags. Theoretically, we rely on the transnational alternative digital public sphere and hashtag activism to understand how social media acted as a meeting place for mobilization and building cross boundary pollination and unitary movements. This investigation relied on a combination of virtual ethnography and purposive sampling as methodological approaches. Thematic analysis was the analytical tool employed with four themes informing this investigation: democratisation and human rights, transnational solidarity, states’ response to hashtag movements and use of parody accounts as a counter hegemonic strategy. The study found that these hashtags and movements achieved a modicum of ‘success’ by forcing some of Africa’s enduring dictatorships to make piecemeal concessions of varying degrees.

Author Biographies

Trust Matsilele, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Trust Matsilele lectures journalism and media studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa. He holds a Dlitt et Phil from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interest cuts across disciplines of journalism, social media, culture and communications. He has published in local and international journals and among them are: Digital Journalism, Media Culture and Society, Communicare and Journal of Science Communication. He is currently working on his monograph themed Social Media and Digital Dissidence in Zimbabwe which is set to be published in 2022.

Shepherd Mpofu, University of Limpopo

Shepherd Mpofu is Associate Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Limpopo in South Africa. He has published several articles on communication, media and journalism in Africa. His body of work covers social media and politics; social media and identity; social media and protests. He is the co-editor of Mediating xenophobia in Africa (Palgrave 2020) and editor of The politics of laughter in the social media age: Perspectives from the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan 2021) and Digital humour in the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives from the Global South (Palgrave Macmillan 2021).

Mbongeni Msimanga, University of Johannesburg

Mbongeni Msimanga is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Johannesburg. His research interests are in digital cultures, satire, identity constructions and political communication.

Lungile Tshuma, University of Johannesburg

Lungile Tshuma holds a DPhil et Lit from the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Johannesburg. His research interests are in political communication, visual culture and collective memory.

Published
2022-02-07
How to Cite
Matsilele, T., Mpofu, S., Msimanga, M., & Tshuma, L. (2022). Transnational hashtag protest movements and emancipatory politics in Africa: A three country study. Global Media Journal - German Edition, 11(2). Retrieved from https://globalmediajournal.de/index.php/gmj/article/view/211