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The “Happiness Index (Gross National Index of SA)”, which was launched in April 2019 by Prof Talita Greyling (University of Johannesburg), Dr Stephanie Rossouw (Auckland University of Technology) and AFSTEREO (Pty) Ltd, to measure the happiness level of South Africans, showed unexpected results during the last week of turmoil (21-27 October) surrounding DA resignations. 

Since the first announcement on Monday (21 October) by Herman Mashaba, resigning as the mayor of Johannesburg, followed by that of Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the DA and Athol Trollip the federal chairperson of the DA on Wednesday (23 October), the Happiness Index showed a surprising increase above the average levels of happiness. 

The Happiness Index which is constructed based on sentiment analysis of Tweets and measured on a scale from 1 to 10, showed higher happiness levels of up to 6.66.   Many Tweets revealed positive sentiment and from the content of the Tweets it seems that South Africans are pleased about the breakaway from the “White dominated liberal Party”  and that there is an expectation of a new party that will lead South Africa out of poverty, inequality and unemployment, following a regime of pro-poor growth.  The future needs to tell, as not much has been revealed by Maimane.

In contrast the appointment of John Steenhuisen, as the new leader of the DA, on Sunday morning did not have much effect on the Happiness Index and was overshadowed by a sharp increase in the happiness levels on Sunday afternoon at 13:00, which was at a level of 7.2, much higher than the average happiness levels of 6.1 experienced on Sunday’s at 13:00.   This bout of happiness was due to the Springboks winning Wales in the semi-finals to ensure themselves a place in the World Cup Rugby finals, to be played next week Sunday.

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