Eight days of protests and looting that shook South Africa

For just over a week in July 2021 chaos reigned in two provinces. Sparked by the imprisonment of South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, violence and destruction spread from major freeways to the cities of Durban and Johannesburg, leaving 340 people dead and causing billions of rands in damage.

Social media played a pivotal role in the July riots. Many people posted what they were seeing on social media channels, from roadblocks to raging warehouse fires and the devastation caused to businesses by looters.

The Outlier team collected tens of thousands of social media posts from Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook posted by ordinary people and media outlets between 8 and 16 July to try to build a picture of what happened.

This is what we found:

This project was possible with funding from the Henry Nxumalo Foundation.

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