Back to Africa Check

Widely shared video not of 2023 #NationalShutdown protesters in South Africa

IN SHORT: South Africa’s second largest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, called for national protests on 20 March 2023. But this viral video is not from the day – it was posted online as far back as 2020.

A video that has been widely shared online claims to show protesters in South Africa, at the “national shutdown” organised by the Economic Freedom Fighters, or EFF.

The video, which could have been taken at dawn or dusk, shows a crowd enthusiastically singing and dancing.

At first glance, the video is credible because most of the people in it are dressed in the red colours closely associated with the EFF.

“What a time to be alive #NationalShutdown #RamaphosaMustGo,” reads one caption to the video.  

“South Africa protestors makes Kenyan protestors in Nairobi CBD look like we are joking,” reads another caption, this time by a user based in Kenya.

The opposition in Kenya was also protesting on 20 March for what leader Raila Odinga said was economic and electoral justice. On the day, streets in the capital Nairobi were largely deserted and security forces were highly visible.

The video has attracted a lot of attention – the two examples above together had thousands of likes and half a million views at the time of publication. 

But is the video of March 2023 protests in South Africa? 


Video posted by EFF leader in 2020

We ran the video through the free InVID verification tool to extract thumbnails of the video. This tool also allows you to do a reverse image search of the thumbnails.

This led us to past examples of the same video being published. EFF deputy president and member of parliament Floyd Shivambu posted it as far back as July 2020 (archived here) when he said it showed celebrations of the party’s seventh birthday. The party was established in 2013. 

While we could not verify this, the video is not of #NationalShutdown protests in South Africa in March 2023.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.