media update’s Nakedi Phala looks at some of the most popular and powerful hashtags in South Africa that are making waves on social media.

While some hashtags come and go, others remain dominant on social media, being amalgamated into movements or organisations such as ‘#BlackLivesMatter’. Another example of this is South Africa’s own very popular ‘#NotInMyName’, which is now a civil rights movement growing in strides to fight against fermicide and gender-based violence against women and children.

Hashtags have become a casual social media feature that enable individuals and brands to create and build engagement, as well as conversations around anything and everything. It’s through hashtags that individuals and brands have been able to create awareness and establish wave-making initiatives out of the #tag.

Here are the five most influential hashtags on South African social media:

1. #PutSouthAfricansFirst

This was a hashtag that was made popular by a Twitter account known as @Lerato_Pillay. ‘#PutSouthAfricansFirst’ has been one of the hashtags that are dominating trends.

The initiative has seen the afrophobic set to cause tension and division amongst Africans. This is because it orients the conversation regarding some South Africans’ view that immigrants are responsible for social ills, like crime, drugs, and cable theft.

This has caused division in the country, with people both in support and as well as against the movement. The initiative rattled the attention of politicians such as Phumzile Van Damme, Julius Malema and Herman Mashaba, as well as celebrities such as kwaito musician L’vovo.

The hashtag has now moved to the streets, where those in support have taken up placards and marched in protest to voice their grievances.

2. #Rakgadi

Um, what is a #Rakgadi? Well, in most South African cultures, this is the aunt from the father’s side of the family. Yes, South African cultures are very specific.

This hashtag was created after a brawl at the funeral of Lebohang Khitsane, founder of Bataung Memorial Tombstones. Rakgadi made headlines when she made some statements that one would deem as ‘private family affairs’ about his late brother’s marriage.

However, social media users, especially on Twitter, were not going to let the incident go unnoticed. A #RakgadiChallenge was created with some Tweeps dressing up like #Rakgadi and mimicking her. Some users also took it as an opportunity to address challenges that they have or have had with ‘rakgadis’ in their lives.

3. #JerusalemaChallenge

The #JerusamelaChallenge started in Angola by friends dancing to is a South Africa’s Mater KG Jerusalema original soundtrack that has gone international — from a house track with some elements of Gospel to a dance challenge.

The original sound features Master KG and vocalist Noncebo — and there’s also a remix that features Burna Boy. Either way, the song is a global hit!

The police departments, health professionals, politicians, soccer stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and music lovers — everyone took some time to be part of the challenge.

Here’s how the challenge works:

The Jerusalema music video on YouTube has hit a record high of 164 939 890 views — and view numbers are still going up.
So have you taken part in the #JerusalemaChallenge? If not, better get on your dancing shoes and take part in this fun global challenge.

4. #FellowSouthAfricans

Did you know that the #FellowSouthAfricans hashtag is another nickname for South Africa’s one and only President, Cyril Ramaphosa? Well, that’s what our president became known as after ‘fellow South Afrians’ became a popular phrase he used when addressing the nation during the lockdown period.

So now you know that, when you see #fellowSouthAfricans trending, just know that ‘Mr President’ is addressing the nation and it’s time to follow the #tag for more deets.

In meetings.

What did #FellowSouthAfricans say? #level2lockdown

— VT (@VusiThembekwayo) August 15, 2020

5. #HumanTrafficking

#HumanTrafficking started making waves in South Africa when a Tweep shared her experience on how she survived a human trafficking attempt in Pretoria CBD.

According to @sa_mshiane, she was following up on a job post she had applied for, only to learn that it was a building used to lure young desperate women looking for employment, take them and start trafficking.

This #tag is now being used by people who have fallen victim to human trafficking; on social media, they now share their stories using the hashtag to educate others who may fall victim to human trafficking tactics. Amongst other things, they are educating them on how to examine whether a job post is genuine or not.

This hashtag has also grabbed the attention of some South African celebs, such as Cassper Nyovest, who is calling on the president to take action against the crime.

Guys no ways. So many people going missing and our President still hasn't said anything? Like nothing? Fokol? Kana everyday it's a new person I see on the timeline who went missing. I can only imagine what women feel like having to walk in these streets. YOH! #HumanTrafficking
— R.M Phoolo (@casspernyovest) September 28, 2020

Social media #tags have now become a voice for social movements; they’ve earned the status of being key elements used in serious online issues or movements. Additionally, they are actually being used as organisation and brand names.

Know of any other trendy hashtags that are making waves in SA? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Hashtags are everywhere — not just on social media these days. They have embedded themselves as an integral part of marketing. With that in mind, check out these Three types of hashtags to make your marketing more effective.