#someonetellsouthafrica: South Africans side with Kenyans in Twitter ‘war’

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Yesterday South Africa’s Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula sparked a Twitter tiff when he made some less than savoury comments about Kenya during a press conference. According to a Mail & Guardian report, Mbalula made off-topic comments on how South Africa would not be like Kenya and send athletes to the Olympics to “drown in the pool”.

His off-colour remarks not only sparked a response from Kenyans, but it seems that most South Africans have decided used it as an opportunity to distance themselves from the Minister, with a few tweeting to Kenyans that they do not support the views of the Minister.


The comment has resulted in two Twitter hastags that have both trended in South African and Kenya. #someonetellsouthafrica and #someonetellkenya were in full force on Tuesday night as well as Wednesday morning as citizens of both countries found ways to comment on each country’s infrastructure.

The Minister has yet to apologise, also tweeting that he had nothing to apologise for:


He has also commented that his comment was both to Kenya’s strengths and weaknesses:


Though there have been many tweets bashing South Africa, the Minister is of the notion that a Twitter row is “petty” and the platform should rather be used to educate:


Though there was some back and forth banter between Kenyans and South Africans, the bulk of the tweets seem to be more focused on getting Kenyans to see that not all South Africans agree with Mbalula. Some South Africans have also decided to use the opportunity to highlight some issues in the country.


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  • barney23

    The SA minister’s comments were stupid, yes, but Kenyans are too trivial. It’s like they live for this kind of thing, always starting stupid national wars with other people. Mbalula was right: it was petty. That’s why most South African’s, those with sense, ignored it.

  • Phace Rangu

    #SomeoneTellBarney23 ;-)

  • Nqobile Buthelezi

    I think the issue wasn’t petty. First it was Zuma and his Malawi comment. Now Mbalula. I think our politicians have a serious defect- speaking without thinking. They are really disrespectful. I am unsure how an entire ‘Sports Minister’ can say that. From what I’ve seen since I’ve lived in Nairobi, Kenyans CAN actually swim and i think more black south africans would drown in pools! S.A hates facing the truth. Deprivation ensured our majority population lived brutal lifestyles that did not include pools in sight hence swimming is a luxury and our folk would definitely be the ones to die in Mbalula’s pool! South Africa should evaluate itself. We are starting to piss-off the continent with our ignorance and assumed ‘kingship’ over Africa. Who gave us that right to play judge and compare? We, above all, are in a glass house that is quickly cracking by itself and we do not want to be throwing stones! We have serious compounding socio-political issues at home and that’s what these politicians should be commenting about. The inequality, unemployment, ignorance fuelled by a long-crippled education system and social ills (with that dreadful thing called xenophobia in the mix) are all a ticking time bomb, a conversation that should be trending in SA right now, not pompous egos of these leaders! After all is said and done with this Twitter debacle, it is time for South Africa to catch a serious wake up call. Some of those comments from Kenyans really hit closer to home. The issues about HIV/AIDS, ignorant leaders, Oscar and gender issues, lack of service delivery etc should be the talk of the day. This is definitely not a petty issue.

  • barney23

    Ugandan here, but currently studying in SA. You are right about many things, if not all. The ignorance, inequality, violence, HIV/AIDS, Oscar and gender, etc. And of course clownish leaders like Zuma and Mbalula. (Although, give and take, I’d rather have a Zuma who has limits on how long he can stay in power than a man who has been president since before I was born.)

    That said, what I’ve said before, the Kenyans took this overboard, but that’s because it’s what they do. Unless you are telling me you needed a petty, quarrelsome gang to tell you those things? I have seen them start these kind of wars with other national Twitter groups: Nigerians, Tanzanians, Zimbabweans, us (Ugandans). It is always petty (but funny).

    What is not petty are the many SA problems esp those facing the black people.

  • mzeiya88

    Your comment is close to your ministers, just assuming all Kenyans are on twitter. Most of our young Kenyans are highly connected on twitter and tech savvy. I think that where these tweets are coming from, but just generalizing a comment is petty like you said.
    Most adult Kenyans like everywhere else are too busy for this kind of stuff or probably not as tech savvy as today’s young folks everywhere.

  • barney23

    I am not South African; I am Ugandan.

    Uganda has many young people on Twitter too, just like many other countries. You never see them starting this petty, silly stuff (though they engage in a lot of petty, silly stuff) of beefing other national comments over some random comment. It’s a thing (young and tech savvy) Kenyans, for better or worse, have -unfortunately- perfected.

  • mzeiya88

    Nonsense. Now you are trying to bring in Uganda folks into this silly argument too. Don’t you think that’s petty too.

  • barney23

    ->(though they engage in a lot of petty, silly stuff)<- I said that.

    I am not getting into who's more tech savvy than the other. My point is that this is something KOT, like they call themselves, has unfortunately perfected.

    I am out of here.

  • Bantustani

    Hahahaha. KOT to the world, they better recognize. Every insult hurled against a Kenyan, Kenyan Interests or a statement that puts Kenyans in bad light will be met with millions of Counter-insults.

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