The latest social media protest that has been trending on many social media channels like Twitter and Instagram is #EndSARS, which stands for Special Anti-Robbery Squad. This protest is of the people in Nigeria rallying against police brutality and who are being attacked, exhorted and killed by their own government for doing so.
According to the Washington Post, the hashtag came out in 2017 when Nigerian activists sought to make social media aware of the injustices happening in Africa with their own government. Social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat have picked up on the hashtag #EndSARS, and the videos and images surfacing around the media have been disturbingly graphic at the level of dehumanization of African citizens.
The hashtag on Instagram has been trending for 1.5 million posts, and celebrities have expressed their support of Nigerians. Well-known Nigerian model Naomi Campbell took a stand on her Instagram page emotionally expressing her concerns for the well-being of the citizens of Nigeria.
Some of Campbell’s posts have been blocked from Instagram, claiming them to be false information. Although this information is not false, it is yet another way the government likes to keep the public uninformed of the injustices taking place in our world.
Music phenomenon, Beyoncé, posted on her Instagram about how she and her team have partnered with youth organizations to support protestors and provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter. Twitter has also been trending over 200,000 tweets with the hashtag #EndSARS. Singer and designer Rihanna posted a tweet discussing the torture and brutalization in Nigeria that she has witnessed all over the internet. Nigerian singer Burna Boy also spoke out on Twitter, saying, “I HAVE NOT SLEPT since 20/10/2020. I close my eyes and all I see is Lekki toll gate. I’ve seen a lot of Violence and death in my life, but this is the one that has Traumatized me.”
Not only is Nigeria suffering, but so is the whole continent. Cameroon is facing #AnglophoneCrisis based in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. There is a divide between the French-speaking and English-speaking citizens in Cameroon, which has led to conflict within the region. #CongoIsBleeding is a political uproar and conflict where armed groups have brutally attacked innocent civilians, causing more than 50,000 people to flee their homes. 6 million have died and civilians are being killed, raped and kidnapped each hour. #ShutItAllDownNamibia is a protest of the youth demanding political action on sexual gender-based violence. #AmINext is a protest happening in South Africa where women have taken to the streets to draw attention to the country’s growing rates of sexual violence, murder and rape. Sexual assault has gone up by 9.6% and rape by 3.6%. #ChildTrafficking protest is happening in Ivory Coast and Ghana, where child labor has increased and children are being trafficked to work as slaves on cocoa farms. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter speaks out on the government taking advantage of their citizens. Women are being raped by soldiers, civilians are being tortured and killed and police are throwing tear gas into buses filled with people. These social media campaigns have been flooding all over the media, and if you haven’t seen them all, you’ve had to at least seen one.
As overbearing as this information is, we can’t just scroll past the injustices happening to our African brothers and sisters. A simple post may not seem like much, but all we can do is spread awareness and make more people aware of what is going on. The more people are informed and take a stand for Africa, the more noise we can make. And the more noise we make, the more people will be heard. It’s just a start, but if one doesn’t stand for something, they’ll fall for anything.