South Africans are Using Twitter to Fight for Social Change

IOL.co.za published an article by Imaan Latief and Robin Henney titled “’Woke Twitter’ blew whistle on racist twits.” In South Africa, Woke Twitter exposed racists comments that were made by three people, one of whom was suspended as an analyst for Standard Bank. Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart and Justin van Vuuren are being accused of using racially offensive language to impair the dignity of black people and are now facing charges. Woke Twitter is becoming a consciousness movement that is challenging racial, sexual and gender stereotypes.

Woke Twitter is a South African collective movement exposing racist and sexist social media posts that is using #BlackLivesMatter and South Africa’s #RhodesMustFall campaigns for inspiration. “Woke” means being aware of the real issues, targeting displays of racism and sexism, and identifying anyone who does not want to see true transformation in South Africa. The “Twitactivist” who are at the forefront of the Twitter mobilization efforts are able to use hashtags to generate support from hundreds of thousands of Twitter users against people they deem to be fighting against social change. In some cases, “Twitactivists” are able to cause people to lose their jobs or face intense public scrutiny.

Brenda Wardle made a comment on this subject stating Penny Sparrow and others have the right to freedom of speech according to the South African constitution, but they do not have the right to violate the dignity of other human beings. Brenda Wardle is a native South African who is a legal analyst and Chief Operations Officer of Wardle College of Law. She has several law degrees and is currently working towards a Doctorate of Laws degree. She is a widely published legal scholar and is frequently sought after by radio and TV outlets who want to get her views on the latest legal issues that affect South Africa.

Recently Brenda lent her expertise to the media during the Oscar Pistorius trial for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. She was seen on TV stations around the world including Fox News in the US and Channel Five in the UK where she helped to explain the South African legal system to people who were not familiar with it. Her comments about South Africa’s constitution regarding freedom of speech as it relates to human dignity have been very informative. The Woke Twitter article can be found at http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/woke-twitter-blew-whistle-on-racist-twits-1.1967261.

Brenda Wardle Weighs In On Twitter Racism

Woke Twitter has risen to national attention in South Africa after a number of social media posts were spotted by activists on Twitter who publicized the nature of a conversation. The nature of the posts has seen police charges levied against three social media users, Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart, and Justin Van Vuuren. Alongside the legal charges and public outcry against the three social media users Hart has also been suspended from his position as an analyst with Standard Bank.

South African legal analyst Brenda Wardle has joined the discussion on the nature of free speech in South Africa, which she stated was not applicable with the racist nature of the quotes made. Wardle is one of the best known legal experts in South Africa after finding international acclaim for her analysis of the Oscar Pistorius trial; the case took the attention of Wardle to such an extent that she is set to release a book on the case brought against the athlete.

Wardle has been enjoying a successful career for a number of decades after receiving three legal degrees from some of the best known educational institutions in South Africa. Despite the busy career Wardle has carved out in the legal industry and the media she has also found time to write a novel based upon her own experiences becoming a lawyer in South Africa.

Wardle stated the social media posts made by the three users adopted a racist attitude by comparing black South Africans with monkeys and other animals. The nature of the tweets and Facebook posts made therefore eliminated any defense that could be put forward by the three that the comments were made under constitutional right to freedom of speech.

The racist posts made by the three were spotted by politically aware fellow social media users who refer to themselves as members of the woke Twitter movement. The movement is described as being made up of social media users who are looking to push forward political attitudes and opinions. Movements, such as Black Lives Matter are thought to have planted the seeds of the woke Twitter movement that mobilized to make sure the latest racist posts in South Africa were reported to the police.