We can all admit that the South African Twitter streets have been nothing but depressing as of late especially because it’s been overshadowing more pressing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
One thing we’ve definitely been seeing is the idea of prominent South African figures “falling” as a result of reckless or mistaken tweets that should have never made their way onto the platform to begin with. The #MustFall trend has been making its rounds to popular figures such as Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Simphiwe Dana, Ntsiki Mazwai, and Mihlali Ndamase just to name a few.
Now we have to understand that Twitter is a platform that most people go onto to know the latest in any form of news without having to go directly to the source. A simple hashtag gives you all you need to find regarding that particular subject matter. However, the platform for a long time,has allowed us to freely express ourselves through opinions that may not be in agreement with the Twitter community – especially Black Twitter. Whenever tweets are shared unintended to cause harm, there’s a sudden call to quickly cancel these figures.
Cancelling must be bigger than a hashtag
Sure, cancelling seems like the easiest thing to do – I for one used to believe it when some of our faves did things they weren’t supposed to, but quickly realised that some people vouching for cancelling don’t realise that it doesn’t do much. Cancelling needs to be bigger than a hashtag. It needs to come with an education but no one’s putting their hand up to educate the wrongdoers. Believe it or not, people legit don’t know what’s wrong with what they tweet because they’re sharing their own experiences.
It’s very easy for people to take a tweet out of context and interpret it however they want to. As the person responsible for the tweet, you need to welcome differing views and be open to a critical discussion on it. I say this because I was reading through tweets that circulated regarding Mihlali’s experience around dating older guys. This may have been her experience, but what was not acknowledged is that she didn’t realise that had that been shared by a man, Twitter would be boiling as much. However, once a few tweeps started addressing the matter, they realised that her experience didn’t acknowledge the fact that she was groomed by men to drive a preference for dating men her senior. The threads that were shared awakened a lot of women including myself about this subject and it made us talk about something we had normalised for a long time.
As a figure whose caught up in such situations, it’s also your duty to utilise your platform to address such matters. Let your followers teach you so you can teach others. Cancel culture doesn’t do anything if we were, to be honest, and it never will. Until we dig deep and start having open conversations about particular topics, we’ll start seeing the changed behaviour that we’re always advocating for.