The year Africa trended on Twitter

South Africa Student protest tuition fee hikes

Story highlights

  • In 2015 Africans used Twitter to celebrate their cultures, air their grievances or just share a good joke
  • The best hashtags include #IfAfricaWasABar, #147NotJustANumber and #MugabeFalls
  • 2016 off to a viral start with #TheYearWeMispronounceBack

London (CNN)IF you've ever been on the receiving end of trolling tweets, you'll know Twitter can be a cruel place. But the social network also provides a platform for disparate voices, helping to amplify them and create online communities. Africans on Twitter have long used 140 characters to celebrate their cultures, air their grievances or just share a good joke and it seems record numbers of people joined in.

From #IfAfricaWasABar to #MugabeFalls, here are the very African hashtags of 2015.

    February: #MugabeFalls

    Twitter got creative after a video of Zimbabwe's then 90-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, falling down stairs started making the rounds in early February.
    Although the president's security detail apparently attempted to suppress images of the incident by forcing photographers at the scene to delete it, pictures spread through the Twitter-sphere and the image was soon turned into memes and shared using the hashtag #MugabeFalls.
    In no time at all the nonagenarian was riding waves, in a Beyoncé music video, on Dancing with the Stars and running away from a hippo.

    April: #147NotJustANumber

    From humor to tragedy. On 2 April Kenya witnessed its deadliest terror attack since 1998 in April when 148 students and staff at Garissa University College were killed in an Al-Shabaab attack. Wanting to humanise the victims and make sure they were remembered, Kenyan activist Ory Okolloh started the hashtag #147notjustanumber (referring to the original death toll) on Twitter.
    Other people quickly joined in sharing their grief and details about the murdered students, aged 19 to 23.

    June: #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou

    Africa is not on a country and by June, Africans on Twitter were fed up of a media narrative many felt suggested it was.
    The hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou proved to be popular and instead of the usual images of death, destruction and disease, Africans could show off their food, flora, fauna and cultures.

    June: #BeingFemaleInNigeria

    On 30 June the hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria carried all the frustration young Nigerian women felt about the everyday sexism that they experienced.
    After a reading of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's essay 'We Should All Be Feminists' in a small book club in the nation's capital Abuja, the idea was born.
    The first tweet sent by book club founder Florence Warmate said: "#Beingfemaleinnigeria someone asked me why you want to get a PhD? You won't get a husband".
    Other people joined in and the tag was trending in Nigeria by the afternoon.
    Some Twitter users highlighted the daily sexism that they face while others discussed their experiences of patriarchy in Nigeria.