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Change.org’s Global Digital Civic Engagement Index has ranked South Africa as the top country for digital activism in the first half of 2020.
The report ranks 25 countries based on their engagement on the Change.org platform, which allows users to create and share online petitions. The index looks at engagement between January and July 2020.
According to the platform, four million new users signed up to Change.org in South Africa since January 2020.
“South Africa saw a growth of 600% more Change.org users in 2020. Over 60% of new user signups are in support of COVID-19 petitions,” Change.org said.
Meanwhile, the country also saw over 1000% growth in signatures on petitions.
However, not all of the petitions relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, only 30% of new petitions from South Africa were related to COVID-19.
Rather, topics also included issues such as gender-based violence and police brutality.
“The top cause areas on which South Africans started Change.org petitions were economic reform, political reform, human rights, safety of women and girls, student rights, police brutality, economic equality, internet freedom, and animal rights,” the platform said in a statement.
As a result of this growth, Change.org plans to open a local country team to harness this local digital activism.
You can read more insights on Change.org’s Global Digital Civic Engagement Index.
Other digital activism in South Africa
However, Change.org is not the only platform through which South Africans engage in digital activism.
Amandla.mobi is a local petition website and non-profit that aims to make digital activism more accessible in South Africa, where the digital divide is significant.
Twitter hashtags are another way locals bring attention to issues in South Africa.
Prominent hashtags in 2020 include #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, #JusticeForCollinsKhoza, and others related to ending GBV and corruption.
Feature image: Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash