ANC Youth League (ANCYL) firebrand Julius Malema went viral on Twitter on Friday, as internet users in South Africa and around the world poked fun at the controversial youth league leader with the hashtag “#JujuFriday“.
At one stage, according to WhatTheTrend.com, #jujufriday was the second most popular Twitter trend world-wide, before it was eclipsed during the late afternoon.
The hashtag was created in response to the ANCYL’s bizarre and laughable threats to close down the micro-blogging network last week as a result of several fake Julius Malema Twitter profiles on the social network.
Tweets were streaming in from South Africans of all colours and creeds — some witty, some inane, but some blatantly offensive and racist.
By Wednesday, Memeburn had identified 22 active accounts all tweeting in Malema’s name. The largest of these is Julius_S_Malema, who has more than 15 000 followers. One of the fake Malema’s, @juliusmalema, tweeted: “What is this #juju friday thing? Do you not already know that everyday is my day!”
@kingbiyela wrote “Julius Malema is trending worldwide. Justin Bieber is not. I’m so proud to be South African right now!!! #jujufriday”
Daniel Nash of the blog BangersandNash explains how it all began: “Cosmopolitan magazine is running a feature called ‘Kings Of Twitter’ in its January issue. There were about ten of us chosen to be featured and the photo shoot for the article took place this past Tuesday in Joburg and Cape Town.
The Joburg crew came up with the idea and a guy by the name of Barry Tuck (@barrytuck) chatted to me about it, as I was one of the guys in the Cape Town shoot. The idea was that most of the guys involved wanted to push #jujufriday and the drive kicked off on Wednesday – the day after the shoot.”
Comedian Chris McEvoy also had a hand in getting the trend going when he wrote on Channel 24 a week ago: “But before the ANCYL realise their effort to close down Twitter will be about as effective as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition, let’s have some fun. Come on, let’s all open a Julius Malema account.”
The trend exploded across Twitter on Friday morning, tapping into a rich vein of anger and frustration at the Youth League leader. The humour was also flowing thick and fast. @etaventer tweeted “OH SNAP!!! #jujufriday is trending in the twita. We need to shut down the trending offices as well.”
A few celebrities were getting in on the act. Rugby player RossSkeate tweeted: “I cannot believe #jujufriday is trending! Hectic”. 5FM’s DJ Fresh Tweeted: “Superman is a BLOODY ALIEN AGENT”, as did DJ @GarethCliff: “#JuJuFriday – a good time to get rid of your WHITE tendencies”.
The catalyst for the Twitter outburst was when ANCYL spokesman Floyd Shivambu issued a sub-standard press release last week calling on the authorities to “closer (sic) Twitter if its administrators are not able to administer reports for violation of basic human rights and integrity”.
Ironically, the ANCYL press release itself felt somewhat like a typical tweet with spelling and grammatical errors in the very headline which screamed in CAPSLOCK: “ANC YOUTH LEAGUE CONCERNED BY CRETATION (sic.) OF FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNTS IN THE NAME OF ANC YOUTH LEAGUE PRESIDENT JULIUS MALEMA”.
Another hashtag in a similar vein has since emerged — #WWJT or “What Would Julius Tweet”.
Throughout the day, the Juju tweets kept coming — at one stage at a rate of about 40 tweets per second. Here are just a few of some of the choice Tweets: