South African Influencers: Shaping Political Engagement Online

Social media influencers in South Africa are taking on a new role as political mobilizers, especially targeting the country’s youth ahead of the upcoming election.

With a significant portion of registered voters under 40, these influencers are using platforms like TikTok and Instagram to urge their followers to vote.

For instance, Karabo “Kay” Mahapa, with over 350,000 TikTok followers, is using his platform to emphasize the importance of voting, without explicitly endorsing any particular party.

Instead, he encourages his audience to consider their options and take action, especially against the backdrop of widespread disillusionment with the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Beyond traditional influencer content like beauty tips or entertainment, these individuals are now engaging in political discourse, sparking conversations about pressing issues and encouraging voter registration. This shift reflects a growing trend where influencers are seen as a trusted source of information, akin to modern-day word-of-mouth advertising.

However, there are concerns about the influence of money in politics, with some influencers being approached by political parties for endorsement.

Despite this, many influencers like Mahapa are focused on using their platforms for “edutainment” – a blend of education and entertainment – to inform and engage their audience.

While social media can raise awareness and prompt critical thinking, individuals are reminded to conduct their own research before casting their votes.

Ultimately, influencers see themselves as catalysts for civic engagement, recognizing that voting alone won’t solve all of South Africa’s challenges.

Credit to BBC for the original article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *