Jacob Zuma, the President South Africans love to hate, tops 2016 Google search list

state capture
Watch “#Zupta, man of the year” for a quick review of 2016: The Year of State Capture (below).

Politicians topped the list of the most popular Google search terms this year, with President Jacob Zuma the favourite name to type into the search engine. Also top of the pops this year have been the Public Protector and Gupta among South Africans looking to fast-track their journey to news. That’s hardly surprising when you consider that barely a day has gone by without Zuma and the Guptas – collectively known as Zupta – hitting the headlines in connection with state capture, corruption, self-enrichment and other controversies. It has been such a busy year that Atul Gupta has shot up the ranks of South Africa’s wealthiest to become one of the country’s richest billionaires. One can only wonder at how others who have enabled him have also reaped the benefits of this strategy to tap state assets. Only musician Mandoza and sports star Caster Semenya were of greater interest than Zuma this year; the former tragically passed away in his prime as a result of a brain tumour, while the latter was the focus of attention during the Olympic Games in Rio. When it comes to 2016 Google searches, #Zupta is the man of the year. – Jackie Cameron

By Gareth van Zyl

Johannesburg – From Mandoza to Mall of Africa, internet giant Google has highlighted South Africa’s most searched for topics on the popular search engine.

On Wednesday, Google announced its annual Year in Search for 2016.

Previously dubbed the Google Zeitgeist, the Year in Search provides a snapshot of the trends, people and happenings that captured South Africans’ interests during the year.

In terms of top trending South African politicians and prominent figures, both President Jacob Zuma and the search term ‘Public Protector’ topped this list, said Google.

nkandla-homesteadZuma has taken centre stage in South Africa in 2016 as he faced several controversies ranging from a damning Constitutional Court ruling ordering him to pay back the money for Nkandla to allegations of him cosying up to the Gupta family.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who ended her term in the hotseat this year, also released her controversial State of Capture report, which posed more questions about the Gupta family’s influence on government matters.

The Gupta family, meanwhile, were the top third most searched for prominent figures on Google in South Africa for 2016.

Meanwhile, Google said Mandoza and Gugu Zulu, both of whom passed away this year, topped the top trending South African celebrities lists.

However, while local issues grabbed South Africans’ attentions this year, Google says global events piqued more interest from the country during 2016.

“This year’s overall trending searches from South Africa have a decidedly global feel. Where last year’s top searches – loadshedding and xenophobia – were distinctly local issues, this year’s top searches show South African eyes are turned to the world at large, not just at home,” said Google.

READ: Pokémon Go – when reality is not enough

“The top trending searches for South Africa for 2016 include Pokémon Go, Euro 2016, Olympic Games Rio 2016 and Donald Trump. Local news only gets a look in at number five on the list – Election Results – and that could refer to the local or the US elections,” said the company.


Below are Google’s top most searched for topics for South Africa in 2016.

Top trending overall searches:

1.    Pokemon Go

2.    Euro 2016

3.    Olympic Games Rio 2016

4.    Donald Trump

5.    Election Results

6.    Mandoza

7.    IEC

8.    Mall of Africa

9.    Caster Semenya

10.   US Elections 2016

Top trending South African politicians and prominent figures:

1.    Jacob Zuma

2.    Public Protector

3.    Gupta family

4.    Thoko Didiza

5.    Mcebo Dlamini

6.    Pravin Gordhan

7.    Sipho Pityana

8.    Brian Molefe

9.    Thuli Madonsela

10.   Khwesi

Top trending South African celebrities:

1.    Mandoza

2.    Gugu Zulu

3.    Emtee

4.    Babes Wodumo

5.    Gareth Cliff

6.    Nasty C

7.    Rapulana Seiphemo

8.    Nyembezi Kunene

9.    Ayanda Mabulu

10.   Duke Soul

Top trending South African TV shows:

1.    Cash Gang

2.    Uzalo

3.    Muvhango

4.    Isibaya

5.    Idols SA

6.    Beintehaa

7.    Bigg Boss 9

8.    Skeem Saam

9.    The Voice South Africa

10.   Antara Nur Dan Dia

Top trending ‘how tos’:

1.    How to download pokemon go

2.    How to build a strong business relationship

3.    How to lose belly fat

4.    How to heat up cosmetic oil for production

5.    How to remove bookmarks

6.    How to make slime

7.    How to tie a doek

8.    How to deal with poor confidence

9.    How to cope with being alone

10.   How to prepare battered jackfruit

Top trending ‘what is’ searches:

1.    What is Pokemon Go?

2.    What is Java?

3.    What is globalisation?

4.    What is a blesser?

5.    What is Brexit?

6.    What is the weather today?

7.    What is meant by restorative justice?

8.    What is research?

9.    What is a dependent variable?

10.   What is biome?

Source: Fin24


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