Sun, Nov 04, 2012 - Page 9 News List

Digital revolution lights up Africa

Mobile services are transforming access to finance and information across the world’s poorest continent

By David Smith and Toby Shapshak  /  The Guardian, Johannesburg

Lindiwe Mazibuko (@LindiMazibuko)

Leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance in the South African parliament.

4,667 tweets, 432 following, 36,612 followers.

One of the most active tweeters and re-tweeters in South African politics, with a sprinkling of personal commentary: “Yep. CT [Cape Town] Airport is now where I catch up on grooming! :- @jo_annstrauss Quick pedicure at King Shaka airport - 10 minutes before boarding!”

Welshman Ncube (@Welshman_Ncube)

Commerce and industry ministry in Zimbabwe and leader of the breakaway faction the Movement for Democratic Change.

2,633 tweets, 6,892 following, 7,017 followers.

Ncube offers an insight into the daily frustrations of working in a coalition government with President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and of life in general: “In 4 weeks’ time, everything stops in the country. Mid-Nov xmas mood takes over n decision-makers will be off to shiny ships in the sea.”

Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga)

Prime minister of Kenya.

1,146 tweets, 81 following, 85,799 followers.

A prolific tweeter with 23 messages posted on Oct. 18 alone. The focus is mainly policy and patriotism. He may have won some votes by stating: “I would like to make it clear as I did this past weekend that I am against the MP’s gratuity bonus.”

Helen Zille (@helenzille)

Western Cape premier and leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance.

13,986 tweets, 1,843 following, 188,283 followers.

Zille has sometimes proved trigger-happy and gaffe-prone. She referred to Eastern Cape pupils who flocked to the Western Cape for a better education as “refugees” and described musician Simphiwe Dana as a “professional black.”

Note: Twitter statistics accurate at mid-October.

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