Social Media – Coltan Research

Social Media

Footballer Aaron Wan-Bissaka posts message of support to the DRC on Instagram

On October 21st, shortly after Manchester United Football Club had beaten Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in the UEFA Champions League, Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo posted the video on the left about the #EndSARS campaign.

Capitalizing on the enormous level of social media engagement that normally follows such a high-stakes football match involving the most watched team in the world, Ighalo here makes a plea for international intervention and spreads awareness about the on-going violence that afflicts the Nigerian population. His message, which has been favorited just under 300,000 times and received 174,000 retweets, stands out as one of many in a short period of time protesting the instances of police brutality, cold-blooded murder of citizens, and other atrocities enacted by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. 

However, shortly after this wave of support for #EndSARS, one of Ighalo’s teammates – full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo – posted the following message on Instagram:

The post uses a provocative 3-D image painted by street artist Eduardo Relero in front of an Apple Store in Madrid, which has been shared several times on social media to raise awareness. In the caption, Wan-Bissaka explicitly connects his call to action with the waves of support for #EndSARS, invoking pan-African solidarity to support his home country. Indeed, he includes hashtags pertaining to both causes: #CongoIsBleeding and #EndSARS, something that is also becoming increasingly common on Twitter.

The post stands as one of the more high-profile comments on the situation in the DRC – a professional athlete who plays for the biggest football club in the world has an enormous reach on social media, as evidenced by the high numbers such posts have yielded. To date, Wan-Bissaka’s Instagram post has received over 216,000 likes.

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