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SASSA grants, load-shedding top 2022 Google searches

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 08 Dec 2022

Google South Africa this week released its Year in Search results, which capture all of the topics of information South Africans sought out most in 2022.

For the second year in a row, the top trending search term in South Africa related to social grants, as South Africans sought to find out more about the R350 SASSA Social Relief grant.

Wordle, the online word game that captured the world’s attention, was the second most searched term, followed by climate change. Other top trending searches were related to the war in Ukraine, load-shedding, typhoid fever and monkey pox.

Google’s Year in Search is an annual analysis that reveals the top trending lists of searches on topics and individuals across the globe.

In a year characterised by increased load-shedding, a war in Ukraine, a football World Cup and deaths of a number of high-profile South Africans, the public turned to Google for more information.

“The annual Year in Search results are a good example of Google’s commitment to organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful, in action,” says Dr Alistair Mokoena, country director for Google South Africa.

“This year’s results show that Google is a trusted source of information when South Africans are uncertain, sad, or looking for ways to learn more or entertain themselves.”

When it comes to the people South Africans searched, American rapper Jaden Smith topped the list, followed in second place by his father Will Smith, who was searched alongside Chris Rock following the slapping incident at the Oscars. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard occupied third and fourth places after their protracted and public court case.

It was a sad year for music in SA, with a number of high-profile deaths. Late rapper Riky Rick was the most searched loss, and South Africans also turned to Google to find out more following the deaths of musicians DJ Sumbody, Takeoff and DJ Dimplez.

Big Brother Mzansi was the most searched for TV show or movie in SA, with the Addams Family adaptation, Wednesday, following in second place. Black Panther 2, Tinder Swindler and Wakanda Forever all feature in the top 10 trending searches for TV shows and movies.

It is no secret that SA is a sports-loving nation and the 2022 Year in Search results encapsulate this. Football occupied the top three searches, with World Cup 2022 fixtures as the top trending sport search, followed by Afcon and SA’s women’s football team Banyana Banyana.

These were followed by searches for tennis (Australian Open), rugby (Springboks vs All Blacks) and cricket (South Africa vs India).

Curiosity remained high among citizens, with a variety of questions around climate change, current affairs and pop culture being searched. Some of these searches included ‘what is global warming’, ‘what is drought’, ‘who is the new Black Panther’ and ‘how to check matric results online’.