Bruce Mutsvairo: A New Dawn? Deliberating on the Impact of Social Media Engagements and Online Protest Cultures in Zimbabwe

Organised by Communication, Philosopy and Technology

Mon 19 February 2018 15:30 to 17:00

Venue Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Room C81

The ubiquity of social media platforms in sub-Saharan Africa is reinvigorating social activism. Campaigners and ordinary people alike, eager to empower themselves economically, politically and socially and drawing upon other digital campaigns from outside the region, are embracing technologies including computers, mobile phones, and other web-based devices to voice their concerns and demand political and social changes. By using social media to empower and emancipate themselves from all forms of oppression, activists, mobile monitors, citizen journalists and digital story-tellers are allegedly bypassing mass media gatekeepers by navigating the online sphere.

But is clicking or ‘liking’ a Facebook page really having an impact in the Zimbabwean social media space? This seminar  draws upon current online movements in Zimbabwe to try and highlight the impact of social media campaigns in the southern African country that until November 2017 was home to one of the continent’s long-serving presidents. Taking a cue from online ethnography, this seminar will also methodologically explore online campaigns that over the last few years have provoked a surge in digital activism in Zimbabwe.