#RIPKarabo: missing woman found slain and ‘burned’, Twitter erupts

#ripkarabo karabo mokoena twitter may 2017

On Tuesday 9 May, a tweet was published by a user dubbed Steph and began circulating on social media.

“My friend has been missing since about the 28th April. If you have seen her please let me know,” it read, asking users for more information regarding Karabo Mokoena, who had been declared missing in Johannesburg two weeks prior.

Prominent tweeters including EFF leader Julius Malema, and City Press journalist Andi Makinana retweeted the post, helping to propel it trending status with over 10 000 retweets accrued in just over 48 hours.

This tweet, although highlighting the issue of missing people in South Africa, also showed the humanity lurking on the often-pessimistic social network that is Twitter. But today, a new hashtag began trending: #RIPKarabo.

A Facebook post published at 3.40am Thursday morning by Karabo’s father Tshepo, explained that Karabo was found dead, presumably killed and burned by her boyfriend.

“The boyfriend confession. He killed and burned by daughter,” the post reads.

The post has since accrued over 70 shares and 140 comments on Facebook. But sentiment has also spread to Twitter.

#RIPKarabo trended on Twitter Thursday as users mourned another woman slain in South Africa

Employing the hashtag #RIPKarabo, users expressed their condolences to Karabo’s friends and familiy, but also joined in a dialogue about the treatment of women in South Africa.

M&G columnist Khaya Dlanga lead the conversation, reminding South Africans that the country has the “highest rate of women murdered by their partner in the world”.

“A woman is killed every 8 hours,” he adds.

A number of others joined in the conversation, calling on South African men to “do better”.

“He will get bail. He will be out in a year. We will continue to burn & bleed,” one user expressed.

“Broken men raise broken men,” another user wrote.

As so often is the case with trending topics, another sub-hashtag developed soon after.

#MenIsTrash also began trending alongside #RIPKarabo Thursday morning

#MenIsTrash began appearing prominently on timelines alongside #RIPKarabo Thursday morning. One of the tag’s more shared tweets accrued over 700 retweets.

Others, including men, agreed with the hashtag’s message.

Many users however felt that the use of the hashtag, and the conversation it entails, was inappropriate for now.

“Let’s not debate the #MenAreTrash hashtag for now, let’s just take the bullet until the time is right to engage further,” tweeted SABC journalist Mweli Masilela.

Others shared similar sentiment.

According to Karabo Mokoena’s friend Steph, Karabo’s boyfriend has been arrested.

South Africa’s minster of police Fikile Mbalula didn’t specifically comment on #RIPKarabo, but did note that the department has improved response times for missing persons cases.

“There is NO WAITING PERIOD in reporting missing persons. We have changed this to resolve these cases quicker,” he tweeted.

While that tweet’s comforting for South Africans still awaiting news of their missing loved ones, it doesn’t offer much comfort to Karabo Mokoena’s.

Andy Walker, former editor


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.