Racism on social media on the rise, as anti-racism App launches

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Social media engagement on platforms like Twitter has seen a rise in racist rhetoric around the Land Expropriation debate in South Africa, this, according to Social Media expert and ROI Africa Managing Director, Tonya Khoury.

Khoury was speaking at the Launch of Zirra – Zimele Racism Reporting App, launched by the Kathrada Foundation in Auckland Park, Johannesburg on Thursday.

Listen to Tonya Khoury below:

In recent times South Africa has seen many incidents of racism on social media, from Penny Sparrow, Judge Mabel Jansen and Vicky Monberg. With such incidents being spread via social media, an APP of this nature couldn’t have come at a better time.

Kathrada Foundation Managing Director Neeshan Balton says the thought that we can eradicate racism within 24 years of democracy after its more than 350 years existence in South Africa is misplaced.

Balton says racism has manifested its ugly head on new media platforms and it is important for them as the Kathrada Foundation to use such platforms to fight it.

Listen to Neeshan Balton below:

Balton says it is the responsibility of “all progressive South Africans who cherish this democracy and champion our constitution to fight the scourge of racism.”

The APP is in its pilot phase and is only available in English, on android devices.

Plans are in order to create an IOS APP.

Zirra App developer, Tiyani Nghonyama, says there are plans to accommodate other languages as soon as the piloting phase is over.

Nghonyama says they had to make sure the interface is as simple as possible because their aim is to reach every South African.

Listen to Tiyani Nghonyama below:


The APP will provide a platform for witnesses to racist incidents and victims thereof to report the incidents anonymously, and will also be used as a an educational tool in creating awareness on the different manifestations of racism.

The Zirra APP is an initiative between the Kathrada Foundation, Geek culture, M-Lab and the Innovation Hub.