State of the Nation: What South Africans say

Landi Groenewald

Most Online South Africans Neutral About Zuma’s Speech

With the many tools available for scouring the web we can deduce exactly what the overall mood was before, during and after the 2013 State of the Nation Address (Sona).

EWN was assisted with mining and analysing the data by an Online Reputation Management firm, SaidWot, to assess exactly what online South Africans thought of and said about the speech and the issues addressed.

This year, 3597 comments were posted before the event, 6528 comments were posted after the event, and a total of 10125 people took part in the conversation.

Topics at the forefront of the Sona discussion included “education”, “employment”, “crime and corruption” and “Valentine’s Day”:

Feature one.

The most prevalent words used during Sona discussions included “Zuma”, “need” and “health” as shown in the word cloud:


The majority of these discussions took place on Twitter (8301) and Facebook (1824). The overwhelming majority of online mentions were neutral, with only 1% positive mentions and 7% negative mentions recorded.


The biggest contributors of these mentions were a mixture of celebrities, news outlets and political bodies:


Some of the comments by South Africans included:




Whilst the conversations tended toward the frivolous, this data still provides somewhat of a window into the minds of connected South Africans. SaidWot MD, Philip Mostert says, “Having the ability to listen and understand what the wider audiences are talking about is an exciting opportunity, regardless of what industry you operate in."