Keabetswe Jan.   Image Source: Twitter
Keabetswe Jan. Image Source: Twitter

The tweet that struck a chord with the world

By Asanda Matlhare Time of article published Jan 6, 2020

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As the famous "O jewa ke eng" tweet celebrated its first year anniversary on Sunday, its founder Keabetswe Jan, 19, had another inspirational ace up her sleeve.

The Bloemfontein-born nursing student launched a school uniform drive to help underprivileged learners to access the basic necessities. The #OjewaTurns1 hashtag trended on Sunday as social media users pledged support for the drive.

Jan’s viral tweet earned her a verification badge and was featured on the list of the Most Retweeted with comment worldwide for 2019. The southern Sotho phrase, which translates to "what is eating you up?", went viral across the globe last year after thousands of Twitter users replied to it by sharing their problems.

Besides helping other people, it was a lucky charm for Jan as she gained instant fame and recognition as a social media marketer.

“Personally, I have become a business owner after partnering with two gentlemen and started a social media marketing and advertising company.

"I have definitely secured a stable future and established some beautiful relationships with a lot of interesting companies like Tshepo Jeans,” she said.

Jan said the post was triggered by the intention of knowing what was bothering people, especially Twitter users. “I was sitting in the kitchen scrolling down Twitter and I thought to myself what was bothering people on Twitter today."

The annual Year on Twitter report states that Jan’s tweet shares the top spot with Sco pa tu manaa, Bomboclaat, Ian Cumberland and Lady Gaga’s cryptic tweet.

Twitter users celebrated the tweet's first birthday by tweeting congratulatory messages to Jan which were followed by #OjewaTurns1.

Twitter user * @NutriKamal said: “A year ago, this life-changing tweet 'O jewa ke eng' afforded people the platform to voice out, to share their problems to those who cared to listen, to ask for help rather than keep silent.”

Jan said she expected engagement, but not for the tweet to go as viral or last as long as it did. 

“I’m still getting quotes for a tweet that was posted on January 5, 2019,” she said.

Celebs that engaged in the tweet included Cassper Nyovest, Maps Maponyane, Flo Masebe and Refilwe Modiselle.

Jan said: “I’ve given people the platform to vent, speak and voice out things they had never imagined speaking about. I’ve given unemployed people a platform to seek jobs and actually find them and also used the platform to showcase ubuntu”

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