South Africa’s Google giants: Julius Malema, Joost, DJ Sbu and the Recession

2009-12-03 00:00

WHEN in doubt, ask Google, and it seems that South Africans were doing just that about sports, celebrities, political figures and recession-related searches this year.

Ali Merifield of africapractice, a strategic communications company, says people have been using the Google search engine to keep abreast of the most interesting news and trends, as well as their favourite websites.

As part of its year-end Zeitgeist (“the spirit of the times”) survey, which monitors search trends around the world, Google has released results of what South Africans have been searching for most this year.

In the political arena, some of the most popular searches inclu­ded firebrand ANC Youth League President Julius Malema.

The youth leader pipped Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance and Mvume Dandala of the Congress of the People as the third most searched-for politician. Despite having a high volume of searches to his name, the youth league president had to make way for his seniors, Jacob Zuma and Nelson Mandela, who demonstra­ted their staying power by leading the rankings.

The release of disgraced former Springbok Joost van de Westhuizen’s biography gave him a place among the country’s celebrity Google sear­ches.

His relatively late entry into the gossip columns, according to Ali, meant he was no match for celebrity DJ Sbu of YFM, who led the “most searched-for celebrity” category.

Sbu was followed by socialite Khanyisile Mbau. Charlize Theron came a close third in the rankings.

In the sports category, the Super 14 rugby was the most searchedfor item, followed by the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket.

The Confederations Cup was fourth in the rankings, despite its being a prelude to the 2010 World Cup, following the third-placed Cape Argus cycle race.

This year’s Zeitgeist survey also reflects important South African concerns, such as understanding how the recession has impacted the local economy.

This year’s fastest-rising global searches show interest across pop culture, with Michael Jackson in the lead followed by searches for the movie The Twilight Saga: New Moon and singer Lady Gaga.

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