African girls march against Google and Facebook censorship
About 200 young girls marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday to demand that Google and Facebook respect African culture.
Organised by local media company TV Yabantu‚ the march was to pressure social media platforms to stop censoring African cultural content. Lazi Dlamini said the companies are insulting African culture and women as they continue to remove cultural videos and images that feature bare-breasted women on their platforms.
“African cultural content has been classified as inappropriate and has been removed by both companies for no valid reason. This is an insult to us because there is nothing sexual about our culture. These are Africans celebrating their culture. Google and Facebook must respect us because they are operating in an African land‚” said Dlamini.
The march started at the Pieter Roos Park in Parktown‚ with marchers crossing the Mandela Bridge and ending their protest at Beyers Naude Square in the busy city centre.
March participants‚ clad in their traditional outfits‚ sang and danced through the streets‚ with some carrying placards with different messages for Google and Facebook.
Some of the placards read “Google a racist”‚ “Facebook stop deleting our pictures” and “Cultural terrorism”.
The crowd was addressed by Francis Nwaneri‚ who calls himself the “Paramount Chief of Africa”‚ who called on international media companies to respect Africa.
“Western celebrities are always displaying their bodies and nobody censors them. When it’s Western images we are told it’s sexy‚ but when it’s African cultural images it’s nudity. That thing has to stop. Google and Facebook must stay away from our cultural practices‚” said Nwaneri.
TV Yabantu said it’s planning to meet with the department of communication over this matter. Dlamini said they have tried to communicate with both companies several times but they have refused to meet with them.
He said TV Yabantu will continue to pressure international companies to stop policing African culture.