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S3 E9: #Tech4Rights: Exploring the downfalls of social media use for protests and activism

In conversation with Ms Bonolo Makgale and Ms Tariro Sekeramayi

The annual campaign for the Centre for Human RightsUniversity of Pretoria is #Tech4Rights: Rethinking a human rights-based approach to new technologies in Africa. The campaign focuses on the impact of new technologies on different aspects of human interaction and the impact of technology on human rights. This campaign has a series of activities that look into technology in various specific areas.

One of the ways Africans are using technology for interaction and to amplify human rights issues on the continent is through social media. Statistics show that Southern Africa has the second-highest social media penetration on the continent, at approximately 41%, placing the region as the second-highest social media users on the continent. The increased use and access to social media has subsequently given rise to a new form of protest and activism called ‘hybrid activism’ where social media is increasingly being used as a platform for protest, activism and solidarity. In this episode, Tariro Sekeramayi is in conversation with Bonolo Makgale, discussing the use of social media as a tool of activism, protest and solidarity in the region, with a particular look at Eswatini, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The discussion explores the use of social media and the extent to which it has opened the civic space as a platform to access and lobby for certain civil and political rights, political reform and accountability. The episode also explores the downfalls of social media use for protest, activism and solidarity and how it is likely to affect the region’s civic space in the future.

Ms Tariro Sekeramayi is an LLM Candidate at the University of Pretoria and a research assistant in the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit. Ms Bonolo Makgale is the Manager of the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria which aims to develop strong, direct democracies in Africa that can amplify citizen voices in decision-making. The Unit also endeavours to promote the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance to support institutions that defend democracy in Africa. The Unit has also been extensively involved in elections on the continent through research, advocacy and capacity building initiatives.

Music: Inner Peace by Mike Chino https://soundcloud.com/mike-chinoCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/0nI6qJeqFcc