Today, we have several books, academic papers, films and video publications that have been produced and inspired by the current Barotseland struggle for self-determination which will be too numerous to itemize in this report!
However, we tasked our tech support team to give us a snap picture of how the Barotseland story is progressing. We wanted to know exactly who is listening and searching for news and information on Barotseland, and so, we compiled data from Google Trends to see worldwide interest in Barotseland over time, from 2004 to the present! Let’s just say the results below will excite many Barotse and their supporters as it did excite us!
The Data Processed was for worldwide interest over time, from 2004 – 2019 showing web searches for Barotseland in specific regions of the world (Interest by region) and related user search queries.
Google Trends rate Interest over time by a number which represents search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50, therefore, would mean that the term is half as popular while a score of 0 (Zero) means there was not enough data for this term.
So, we have only compiled data with a score above zero as these indicate serious enough interest.
The data compiled has shown that slightly over a decade ago, before, January 2004, there was completely no online interest in Barotseland! So, many readers may be surprised to realise that the currently prevalent online information on Barotseland was not actually so readily available slightly over a decade ago!
However, by March 2004, interest had begun to register, rising to the value of 47 when it topped, but then dropping to 28, and then maintaining values between 0 and 31 until January 2011 when the Zambian State instigated killings of peaceful Barotse people happened in Mongu.
At that time, the people of Barotseland, who were headed for a meeting with their royal authorities, were met with armed state security agents who used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse them. 19 Barotse people reportedly died although the Zambian state media and authorities officially reported only 2 fatalities.
In that period interest on Barotseland peaked at 100, the highest Google Trends rating available!
Since the coming of online media such as Barotse Post, Zambian Watchdog, Lusaka Times and other Barotse related Social Media Networks like Barotseland Broadcasting Network, Barotseland Watchdog and others, Barotseland online trends became constantly and significantly high with the most online trends peaking at certain key times like the March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) at 92, the August 2013 Afumba Mombotwa taking oath of office video release (and the arrests that followed immediately after the video was published) at 80 and October 2015 at the height of Afumba Mombotwa and Other Vs the People treason trial at 74.
In fact, since January 2011 – February 2019, online interest on Barotseland has averaged around figure 50, which should be an exciting achievement in itself!
INTEREST BY REGION
This data shows which location the term ‘Barotseland’ was most popular during the specified time frame. Values are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is the location with the most popularity, rated as a fraction of total searches in that location. A value of 50, for instance, indicates a location which is half as popular. A value of 0 indicates a location where there was not enough data for this term.
NOTE: A higher value means a higher proportion of all queries, not a higher absolute query count. So, a tiny country where 80% of the queries are for "Barotseland" will get twice the score of a giant country where only 40% of the queries are for "Barotseland".
So, in this regard, Zambia recorded the highest value of 100 and maintained that value average throughout the period under review, followed by Namibia (7) and then Lesotho (1). Understandably, the three regions have the highest relational and political interest in the subject matter of Barotseland given the number of Barotse people located in Zambia and Namibia but also Lesotho for its historical and political ties with Barotseland.
South Africa (<1) comes in fourth, mainly due to similar reasons as advanced above for Zambia, Namibia and Lesotho. After South Africa, the other regions with the greatest interest in the period under review following in the order of interest from the highest to the lowest:
5. St. Helana (<1)
6. Nigeria (<1) which may be interested in Barotseland because of Biafra, which like Barotseland, is fighting for international recognition.
7. Kenya (<1)
8. Netherlands (<1)
9. United Kingdom (<1)
10. Belgium (<1)
11. United States (<1)
12. Germany (<1)
13. Canada (<1)
14. Italy (<1)
15. Spain (<1)
While we can explain the interest in some regions, we can only speculate why there is so much interest in the subject matter of Barotseland in the other regions.
Users searching for the term ‘Barotseland’ also searched for these queries that can be sorted by the following metrics:
* TOP - The most popular search queries. Scoring is on a relative scale where a value of 100 is the most commonly searched query, 50 is a query searched half as often as the most popular query, and so on.
* RISING - Queries with the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period. Results marked "Breakout" had a tremendous increase, probably because these queries are new and had few (if any) prior searches.
Some of the popular related search phrases recorded in the order of rising popularity are:
1. Barotse Post
2. Barotse Watchdog
3. Zambia Watchdog
4. Barotseland Watchdog
5. Barotseland News
6. Barotseland Post
7. Barotseland Agreement
8. Barotse Post News
9. Barotseland Broadcast network
10. Barotseland Map
11. Barotseland Agreement 1964
12. University of Barotseland
14. Lusaka Times
And others as can be seen on attached Images.
Meanwhile, Barotseland Post website has continued to register monthly visits of above Five Hundred Thousand as monitored by AWSTATS with TOP web traffic from United States, Great Britain, Zambia, Indonesia, Germany, Canada, Ukraine, Russian Federation, South Korea, China, South Africa, France, Namibia, Turkey, Malaysia, India, Ghana, Brazil, Mauritius, Switzerland, Botswana, Netherlands, Romania, Philippines, Norway and Others as the TOP 25 regions, in that order.
From the foregoing data compiled from Google Trends, clearly the story of Barotseland now has worldwide interest and it is not by accident but through the collective efforts of Barotseland independence activists, Barotseland Royal authorities and not forgetting the Barotseland online media and all friendly international media, too many to itemize here!
Barotse people must not relent but continue to write, broadcast and share their own story so that information and news about Barotseland will grow and yield more positive global attention!
Information is power, so goes the cliché, and we can confidently share that it is definitely working in the case of Barotseland!
So, next time some armchair critique tries to dampen your liberated spirit about the Barotse struggle not making any ‘real progress beyond social media’, please, educate them with this data!