05:48 pm
28 October 2016

Surprises and funny insights from Google on what Africans were looking for in 2015

GOOGLE recently released its 2015 searches report that allows us to have a look through the collective eyes of the world on the web, offering a unique perspective on the year’s major events and hottest trends based on global searches.


There was some African representation on the list which proved to be very revealing of the people living in the respective countries – from the highly entertaining to disturbing trending searches.

“How to”

In “how to” searches, Ghanaians expected the internet to give them all the answers with the most popular searches asking the internet gods “how to kiss” and “how to make money”.

Ugandans were particularly concerned with “how to join the Illuminati” – a result of the high interest in local celebrities, who now enjoy riches and fame, that are alleged to have joined the secret society. The Illuminati was also the most popular general search in the country in 2015.

In South Africa topping the list was a search on “how to cast”, a clear indication of the massive interest in fishing in the country, the second most popular search was “how to apologise”.

Senegal’s “how to” searches were a reflection of its society with “how to get fat” topping the list – something that is expected given the massive interest by men in wrestling, the country’s most popular and lucrative sport. The second most popular was on “how to wear a veil” – a nod towards the country’s Muslim population but also suggests that the women are not getting instructions from their older relatives and could indicate that younger Muslim women are trying to find trendier ways of wearing the veil.

In Kenya, “how to” searches related to love, relationships and reproduction saw Kenyan men and boys dominate the trends. They were showcasing their conservative streak – unable to talk to people or peers – with searches on how to; “date a girl”, “wear a condom” and “get a girlfriend”.

Trending entertainment

Movies that trended followed the global pattern with new releases “50 Shades of Grey”, “Jurassic Park”, “Straight Outta Compton” and “Furious 7” dominating the list. This was even the case in Nigeria where, despite having Nollywood, the Western blockbusters resulted in the most searches.

Looking at TV shows was a different matter with many Africans tuning in to Mexican soap operas like “La Gata” – the most popular search in Kenya and Ghana.

When it came to music however it was interesting to see just how many searches were related to more local artists.

Kenya’s second most popular search was “Amarulah”, a song by Zambian artist Robert Banda, the third most popular search in the country was for “Nerea” – a song about a woman whose boyfriend convinces her not to abort her baby, by home-grown pop sensation, Sauti Sol. The song brought about a heated debate on abortion and a woman’s right to choose. In Nigeria the list was dominated by local talent with the top three searches all Nigerian artists; “Melo Melo”, “Woju Remix-Daniel Kiss” and “Bobo – Olamide”.

On top of drama and politics

While the top search trends in the US were on former basketball player Lamar Odom and the “American Sniper” and “Jurassic Park” blockbusters, in Africa the top search trends were related to either political issues or sports or local drama.

The death of popular figures garnered a great deal of attention. In Kenya, the death of Fidel Odinga, the son of Kenya’s main opposition leader Raila Odinga, was a top search – as was Paul Kobia – a controversial Nairobi businessman who had allegations linking him to the death of Fidel.

In Ghana it was the death of Nigerian actor Muna Obiekwe from kidney disease that drew huge attention, while in Uganda it was the deaths of the country’s internal affairs minister, Aronda Nyakairima and Harriet Kisakye – a popular local musician.

Xenophobic violence – related to the wave of xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals which occurred in South Africa – was a trending search in Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. In South Africa the phrase “what is xenophobia” also made it to the top of a search list.