South Africa’s trending topic on Twitter Friday tonight was one that’s not steeped in happiness, but rather of hope. #HelpFindDurbanBaby is the response from the social network in the wake of a hijacking in Durban, which left a mother without her one-month old baby daughter.
The hijacking took place at around 12am SAST in Durban’s Game Park. The mother of the baby, and driver of the Toyota Yaris, was with her mother and younger brother when the incident occurred. The hijackers however didn’t just take the car.
Related: Hijacked vehicle recovered, one-month-old baby still missing
They also took baby Siwaphiwe.
The Yaris was later found abandoned in the Durban suburb of Montclair, but there were no signs of the baby.
Durban’s SAPS have mobilised most of its available forces in a bid to find the baby, and has even taken to social media to access users.
SAPS using social media as a mouthpiece
The initial Facebook post garnered over 160 shares, and 70 additional interactions. This was made without the mention of baby Siwaphiwe though. The Twitter post (below) was retweeted 19 times since.
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) March 10, 2017
But the tweet that really gained traction was the first image of Siwaphiwe, which has now been retweeted and reposted on the social network countless times.
A follow up post, which was published to Facebook around 5pm SAST, garnered an additional 3400 shares.
Social media rallies to find Durban’s abducted baby girl
But the police aren’t the only ones looking for her. Twitter has erupted in support for both the mother, and in a bid to aid authorities.
#HelpFindDurbanBaby became a trending topic in Durban, and later across South Africa, as the story began proliferating mainstream media. Local radio station East Coast Radio was responsible for some of the most retweeted posts, while the likes of the BBC also picked up the story.
While users on the social network expressed their will to help, and well wishes to those involved. was another hashtag seen on Twitter and Facebook today.
While this is a dire situation, the use of social media in this instance does suggest its composed of more than just trolls and sacks of salt. While no further progress has been announced by SAPS, there is a definite sense of hope surrounding these hashtags and the tweets that contain them.
While South Africans do have a knack for , and can use social media as , the country’s social media users can also issue rallying cries when some need it most.
I can’t think of a better example than this.
If you have additional information relation to baby Siwaphiwe, you can call SAPS’s KwaZulu-Natal division at +27 (0)86 001 0111,, or contact the service on .
Feature image: SAPS via Twitter