popular
Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

Keep reading... Show less
Interview
Nudes cover artwork.

You Need to Listen to Moonchild Sanelly's New EP, 'Nüdes'

The buzzing South African singer breaks down her provocative & empowering new 4-song EP.

South Africa's Moonchild Sanelly returns with the Nüdes EP.

The highly-buzzing SA artist's latest project sees her expanding on her own brand of 'electro-pop-ghetto-funk' as she runs through four standout tracks that revolve around her outspoken stance on female sexual empowerment and more.

Nüdes features two previously heard hits from Moonchild Sanelly—the anti-fuck boy synth anthem "F-Boyz" and gqom-laced banger "Weh Mameh." It also includes two previously unreleased tracks in "Come Correct" and "Boys & Girls."

This year saw Moonchild Sanelly break charts and dance floors in South Africa and across the globe with her own sounds, as well as her big collaborations with Damon Albarn for Africa Express and Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

We talked to Moonchild below about the new EP, during which she broke down all of the songs and even told us how she ended up on the Beyoncé album.

Read our conversation below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.