Digital Advocacy for Social Change: Ethnic and Racial Prejudice in South Africa - Citizen Research Centre
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Digital Advocacy for Social Change: Ethnic and Racial Prejudice in South Africa

23 years after the birth of our democracy, growing ethnic and racial prejudice threatens to unravel the fragile fabric of our young society.
Brief analysis provides some shocking insights and statistics.
• In 2016 alone the racial slur k-word, or variations thereof, was used 15,415 times on public social media in South Africa.
• In 2015 there were over 90 000 xenophobic posts, of which over 21 000 were classified as incitement to violence.
The challenge and opportunity lies in harnessing social media – with the ability to reach millions of people – and responsibly directing it towards creating a more engaged, informed, integrated, and civil South Africa.

This with a view to:
• Growing and deepening conversations,
• Effecting behavioural change through peer oriented dialogue between antagonist and protagonist,
• Harnessing and amplifying the power of citizens active on social media,
• Training dialogue activists at scale and
• Distributing content aimed at effecting social change and enabling social justice.

Through engaging with active citizens, training dialogue activists and engaging with both antagonist and protagonists on a massive scale – we are convinced that Digital Advocacy for Social Change through a Programmatic Social Media Intervention presents a revolutionary answer to this challenge.

What we propose here is a world first and has never been attempted on this scale – it moves engagement and advocacy on this issue into new and exciting territory.
It is necessary for this project to be comprehensive and ongoing, and this proposal represents a year long pilot phase of the project.
All the work that we have done thus far suggests that it is not a question of whether it works, but how well it works.

Our aim is not only to make a measurable change in the arena of social media and online communication, as it pertains to ethnic and racial prejudice, but to also provide evidence for a process which can be used to further the number and range of social causes and campaigns.

Given the scale that social media offers us, our intent is suitably bold: for this to be the single biggest intervention into ethnic and racial prejudice in human history.

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