ANCYL no longer wants to shut Twitter down

ANCYL Logo After the ruckus over how Twitter is a place for “desktop activists” who are disconnected from the masses, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has had a change of heart. The organisation has now, after many media rants, decided to embrace the microblogging site.

The Youth League has always played a major part in the South African Twitter experience. With its controversial President, Julius Malema, and often colourful spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu, being media favourites — there have been many noteworthy ANCYL moments on Twitter, the media’s new playground. One memorable case was the ejection of BBC journalist, Jonah Fisher from an ANCYL press conference for being “tjatjarag”, a “bastard”, “a small boy” and having “white tendencies”, a story which was broken on Twitter by other journalists present at the press conference.

The must famous run-in was the ANCYL’s call for the “closer” of Twitter being “concerned by the continuous ‘cretatation’ of fake Twitter accounts in the name of ANC Youth League President Julius Malema”, by “computer hackers who have created twitter accounts in the name of the President and recurrently posting misleading messages”.

The South African Twitter-sphere has risen in the past when it comes to these Youth League occurrence. From the #SpeakZA campaign which began on Twitter, championed by desktop activist Sipho Hlongwane to South African tweeters response to the “Twitter’s shut-down” with the now infamous #JujuFriday.

The change of heart is long overdue. In a recent discussion document released by the Youth League, “Communications And The Battle of ideas in the age of the ‘Twitter Revolutions'”, the organisation displays its change of attitude toward the microblogging site:

With the Twitter revolution sweeping across the Maghreb (Arab North Africa) and parts of the Persian Gulf, it has become plain evident that the communications revolution marked by the advent of high speed internet networks, will define the socio-economic and political order for most of the 21st century and beyond.

Previously, the ANC Youth League expressed reservations on the abuse of technological innovations such as twitter, yet we remain convinced that the ICTs can still be used to better the life of the majority who leave in abject poverty.”

The organisation created a Twitter account @ancylhq in October of 2010, which became active just over a month ago. This new interest has shown tweeters that the ANCYL is no longer interested in the “closer” of Twitter. Actual policy points and fundamental beliefs of the ANCYL may not have changed, but the ANCYL has taken to Twitter to publicise and hopefully explain them.

A plurality of opinion, like we are seing with the ANCYL’s embrace of Twitter can only make the South African Twitter experience more dynamic. And if we hold social media up as a mirror of our everyday analog lives, then this change by the ANCYL could be seen as truly making Twitter more representative of South Africa.



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