With an Internet penetration of 35.2 percent out of a population of over 1.2 billion people, Africa has less than half of its people using the Internet. Despite this low percentage, Africans undoubtedly use the Internet to their satisfaction – to reduce ignorance and increase their knowledge on certain issues. For those who are avid users of the Internet, Google Trend has made it easy to know what interests them and what they are searching on the Internet per time.
From searching for answers to looking for new ways of doing things or looking for current news to stay informed, Africans have found a way of staying abreast of happenings around them, getting answers and satisfying their curiosities without having to leave their comfort zones, thanks to a search engine launched more than two decades ago.
After providing the best answers to most of the questions asked by users for so long, Google now has a huge percentage of internet users around the world depending on it. Using texts, illustrations, images, and videos, Google has ensured that all possible responses to requests are exhausted, with over two million search results for majority of the searched items.
For over 10 years, Google publishes, yearly, a breakdown of what was most searched in countries all over the world. This publication reveals what each country’s internet users were most interested in throughout a particular year. Like every other year, 2018 had a lot of interesting and not so interesting happenings. From the World Cup in Russia to the different personalities that attracted our interests, African countries revealed topics and issues that were most interesting to them through their searches.
Nigeria – Alexis Sanchez
For a country that was most interested in the death of one its celebrities last year, Nigeria sure took a turn this year by focusing on a football player. Football is one thing that sure brings people together. Almost every country had searches related to football as part of its top searches, most especially the World Cup fixtures. However, the Premier League is another part of football that interests most of the internet users in Nigeria, hence the
interest in a player who plays for the Old Trafford club.
Alexis Sanchez is not the best player in the world, but he is presently the highest earner in the Premier League. Upon signing for Manchester United in January, Alexis agreed to a £350,000-per-week contract at Old Trafford. With Manchester United being the club in focus most of this year from its unbelievable losses to the sacking of the now Not-So-Special One Jose Mourinho, we are sure not surprised that Nigerians picked interest in one of its players who has not lived up to its potential at Manchester United.
South Africa – Jacob Zuma
For South Africa, its past top searches revealed that the country was usually more interested in its local celebrities/personalities. This year wasn’t any different as the country showed its interest in its former president who resigned earlier this year.
Jacob Zuma was the fourth president of South Africa who was elected in 2009 and was succeeded by Cyril Ramphosa, who is currently the president of the country. His administration was marred by allegations of corruption and he is currently facing charges after being ousted earlier in the year.
For a man who is not afraid of impeachment or vote of no confidence — he survived a couple — it was surprising that after days of defying orders from his party, the African National Congress (ANC), he resigned on 14
February, a day to the no-confidence vote in the country’s parliament.
With his resignation in February and the institution of criminal charges against him, Zuma became undoubtedly a person of interest to not just the South Africans but Africans in general.
His confidence and calmness despite the charges and oppositions, his recent shocking move to join Twitter, his interest in recording his favourite struggle songs and his nomination for a seat in the parliament by his party after his resignation, are things that have sure interested South Africans about their former president.
Kenya – Sharon Otieno
From the country’s interest in elections in 2017 to murder this year, Kenyans have revealed through their top searches that they are very much interested in what is going on in their country and that all lives matter.
One would expect that only a celebrity death would have been a top search, but Kenyans have proven otherwise by following up on the circumstances surrounding the alleged murder of Sharon Otieno, whose death was linked to Okoth Obado, Governor of Migori County, Kenya.
Sharon was a 26-year-old second-year student at Rongo University Kenya and mother of three, whose body was found mutilated in Kodero Forest, Homa Bay County. Her body was found on 4 September 2018, a day after she was abducted. Sharon was said to have been in a romantic relationship with Governor Okoth Obado and was carrying his child at the time of her death. She, however, had three children which she had left to her former husband, Bernard Okuta.
Before her death, she was popular on Facebook for her posts which were mostly pictures showing how she was having fun. With the number of likes, comments and shares most of her posts received, she definitely had lots of fans. Little wonder her death sparked an immediate interest from the online community.
Also, the fact that her death was linked to an influential person in Kenya was another reason she was the most googled personality in Kenya this year.
Zimbabwe – Nelson Chamisa
For a country that was the centre of attention in the previous year for searches in most African countries as a result of its political developments, Zimbabweans are still very much interested in the politics of their country and they have shown this by following up one of their own who contested for the position of the country’s president.
Chamisa is a Zimbabwean politician and a former church pastor who is the current Movement for Democratic Change Alliance President. He is also a former member of the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe for Kuwadzana, Harare. He was the MDC Alliance presidential candidate in the country’s 2018 general elections.
He became the topic/ personality of interest to the Zimbabweans after he disputed the 2018 election results and led a protest to declare “a day of mourning for democracy” after the election results were announced. He claimed the election results were fake and that the electoral commission were to release the verified reports because the president elected used to be an ally of the former administration – Robert Mugabe’s.
A man who challenged the results of an election and demanded for democracy sure deserves some attention. He is a young man in his 40s in a country with majority of its citizens being just slightly above 25 and believes that young citizens should be in power.
His popularity is made evident in his large rallies and social media following. He has constantly led protests that challenged the ruling party’s system of government and has had meetings with other African leaders and the AU to intervene in the situation going on in the country.
2018 is surely a year that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. These searches do not encompass all that the continent was interested in but they have provided an insight into the fact that more than ever before, Africans are becoming more socially and politically aware, increasingly showing interest in the things that affect their countries and the lives of their fellow citizens. Also, Africans are still crazy about football.