Social media has scaled up the height to which cyberbullying, and trolling can go. If you have ever been unlucky enough to find yourself on the receiving end of social media cruelty, then you probably know just how loathsome social media can get.
You only need to ask the 90-year-old Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. A video of Mugabe falling down the stairs made rounds on social media in early February 2015. Then people on Twitters started getting overly creative with pictures of Mugabe falling.
Despite the fact, Mugabe’s security attempted to suppress the images of the Zimbabwe’s President falling. Apparently, the security detail tried to force the photographers at the scene to delete pictures taken, but somehow the pictures found their way online and onto Twitter-sphere where all sorts of meme were created and shared under the hashtag #MugabeFalls. I mean Mugabe was in a Beyoncé video, he was riding waves, running away from a hippopotamus and even on the Dancing with the Stars video.
— Ian Bredenkamp (@IanBredenkamp) February 5, 2015
— Todd Moss (@toddjmoss) February 4, 2015
But enough with the trolling hashtags, the next hashtag that went big as far as trending is concerned was from Kenya; #147NotJustANumber. On April 2nd, 2015, Kenya was mourning after probably the deadliest terror attack on civilians since the 1998 bombing in Nairobi. This attack was carried out by the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab based in the neighboring country Somalia. The militia targeted a local university in Kenya, the Garissa University College in an attack that left 148 students killed.
A Kenyan activist Ory Okolloh coined the hashtag #147NotJustANumber on Twitter; at the time, the official death count from the attack was at 147. Other people started tweeting using the hashtag in a bid to humanize those victims and make sure they are never forgotten.
— Daily Nation (@dailynation) April 6, 2015
Come June 2015, another hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou trended a lot. This hashtag was started in a bid to show Africans frustration with how most Western media houses get their facts wrong about the African continent. Note the emphasis on the ‘African Continent’, it is not a country as what some news report from some Western media houses seems to suggest. People tweeted under #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou to prove that Africa is not just about death, hunger, famine, war, diseases and destructions. African came out to flaunt their cities, food, cultures, flora and fauna.
— Lex™ (@withlovelexii) June 24, 2015
At the end of June, another top trending hashtag emerged; #BeingFemaleInNigeria. Young women in Nigeria pour out their frustrations with all the sexism they are facing. The hashtag was born out of a reading of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ at a small book club in Abuja, Nigeria.
The club’s founder Florence Warmate sent out the first tweet that read, as shown below.
#beingfemaleinnigeria someone asked me why do you want to get a PhD ? You won’t get husband o.
— Florence Warmate (@FlorenceWarmate) June 30, 2015
Immediately after the above tweet, other Nigerians joined in and began highlighting the daily sexism they have to endure.
My grandmother had to sleep with her husband’s corpse for three days to prove she didn’t kill him #BeingFemaleInNigeria
— frida kahlo (@wildfeminine_) June 30, 2015
Come July, another big hit hashtag was #IfAfricaWasABar. It began trending shortly after Siyanda Mohutsiwa asked this simple question: “If Africa was a bar, what would your country be drinking/doing?”
If Africa was a bar, what would your country be drinking/doing?
— Siyanda-Panda (@SiyandaWrites) July 27, 2015
People from all over the continent and the rest of world joined in. Astute and humorous analogies about the geopolitical status in Africa started being tweeted under the hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar.
— Ellis B. (@Ellisbht) July 28, 2015
When Mohutsiwa was asked what made him ask such a question, his response was, “I thought it would be a fun way for Africans to laugh at themselves and each other by putting geopolitics in a comedic light.”
In August, another Nigerian hashtag made a hit trend; #NigeriansAtHogwarts. The hashtag suggested what the school of witchcraft and wizardry found in Harry Porter movies would look like if it has a population of Nigerian students.
J.K. Rowling didn’t say it but there are Nigerian foreign students at Hogwarts. As a Nigerian, you learn that your patronus is your mum.
— WALE LAWAL (@WalleLawal) August 1, 2015
Apparently Nigerian graduate students at the London Wale Lawal began tweeting: “J.K. Rowling didn’t say it but there are Nigerian foreign students at Hogwarts. As a Nigerian, you learn that your Patronus is your mum.”
— Dipo Faloyin (@DipoFaloyin) August 1, 2015
For the full list of the top trending hashtags that defined Africa on Twitter last year, head on to CNN Africa website.