Steinhoff, Listeriosis, Kids Coding Languages Dominate Google Searches

It wasn’t all bad news though, with a Google Doodle inspiring tens of thousands of people to search for kids’ coding languages

Search google on Samsung Note 4 in coffee shop.
Search google on Samsung Note 4 in coffee shop. (Photo Credit:

South Africans were preoccupied with basic education, diseases, the winner of X Factor 2017, and the age of a couple of prominent South Africans this week.

At least that’s what the top trending questions on Google SA seem to indicate. The top-trending question for the week was “What does the R in Grade R stand for?” Other matters of importance included a math problem and the ANC presidential race.

Top ten trending questions for the week:

  1. What does the R in Grade R stand for?
  2. What is Listeriosis?
  3. Who won X Factor 2017?
  4. How old is Mapula from Rhythm City?
  5. I have 7 candles lit. Two go out. How many do i have left?
  6. How old is Mbuyiseni Ndlozi
  7. Who is leading the ANC race for president?
  8. What is jojoless?
  9. Who is the god of football?
  10. Why is Whatsapp not working?

When it came to search trends meanwhile, a couple of serious incidents — in the shape of a Listeriosis outbreak and financial irregularities at Steinhoff — dominated. It wasn’t all bad news though, with a Google Doodle inspiring tens of thousands of people to search for kids’ coding languages.

With more than 100 000 searches on Tuesday, “Listeriosis” was the most-searched for term of the week by some distance. The spike in searches was the result of an outbreak of the food-borne disease in Gauteng, the Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. To date, the disease has claimed the lives of 36 people, with more than 550 others infected.

South African furniture giant Steinhoff meanwhile trended for all the wrong reasons on Wednesday. CEO Marcus Jooste resigned late on Tuesday after financial irregularities were uncovered at the company. As a result its share price plummeted and billions of Rands were wiped off its market cap. Small wonder that “Steinhoff” (50 000+ searches) and “Steinhoff Share Price” (20 000+ searches) were the top two searches on the day.

More optimistically, Google’s Monday Doodle, which celebrated 50 years of  Logo, the world’s first programming language designed for kids, saw more than 50 000 people search “Kids Coding Languages”. Hopefully some parents who interacted with the doodle will be inspired to get their own kids coding.

With the local season heating up, South African football also saw significant search movement this week. “PSL Log” saw 20 000+ searches on Tuesday while “Mamelodi Sundowns FC”, “Kaizer Chiefs”, and “Orlando Pirates” each saw more than 10 000 searches at some point during the week.

Interest in European football  also remains strong with “Champions League” and “Uefa Champions League” each seeing 20 000+ searches on Tuesday.


Google processes more than 40 000+ search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Google trends data is updated hourly and is available on


Search trends in South Africa tend to be news and sports-driven. People search for things they hear or see on the news, and sports search terms trend several times a week, on average, every week.


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