Africa’s technology stars shone on Thursday in Sandton at the inaugural YouTube Sub-Saharan Africa Creator Awards in Cape Town
YouTube, the video-sharing site run by US tech giant Google, has become the most popular channel of its ilk in the world. It has handed out awards for its most subscribed video creators since 2007, but this year marks the first time awards have been presented for African content.
The awards were given across 22 categories for users with a minimum of 50 000 subscribers in Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, confirming that African content on YouTube has been steadily growing.
Teju Ajani of YouTube Partnerships says, “The number of hours of video content being uploaded in Africa has doubled, year on year, for the past two years. And the audience has grown with it. The time spent watching videos on cellphones is growing 120% year after year.”
The winning vloggers included South Africa’s funnywoman Suzelle DIY, Nigeria’s comedy content channel Mark Angel Comedy, Kenya’s makeup and fashion fundi Kangai Mwiti, and South African fitness channel Six Pack Factory.
South Africans, it seems, are so stressed that our second most-subscribed YouTube channel, Yellow Brick Cinema, is one that helps us relax and sleep. It is runner-up to UK-born and South Africa-bred teen sensation Caspar Lee, who racked up more than 6.5 million subscribers with his cute, wacky vlogs.
Yellow Brick Cinema recently reached 1 million subscribers and was awarded a YouTube Gold Play Button for doing so. Its videos consist of relaxing scenes reflecting nature, rivers and cute animals, with meditative music laid over them.
After listening to a 30-minute video – called Sleeping Music, Calming Music, Music for Stress Relief, Relaxation Music – while working, we felt like Zen gods. Not for nothing did it take another award, in the music category.
Two of South Africa’s most loved animations shared the comic category award: Rams Comics and soccer comic Supa Strikas. Rams Comics is available in English, Sepedi, isiZulu and Setswana, and offers social commentary along the lines of US animated sitcom South Park.
Creator Jonas Lekganyane told City Press, “Winning motivates me to do more content, it is such an honour. Thanks to YouTube and my fans. I used to love drawing [characters from the Japanese anime series] Dragon Ball Z. In 2012, while studying, I’d watch South Park and decided to make my own comics, in our own languages, to entertain people.”
Rams Comics boasts more than 800 000 subscribers and attracts about 240 million views on YouTube.
Here is a list of all the winners:
. Broadcaster: Channels Television
. Comedy: Kansiime Anne
. Education: Retutpro Photography and Photoshop Tutorials
. Entertainment: NdaniTV
. Fitness: Six Pack Factory
. Games: Slushy AJ
. News and politics: Millard Ayo
. Nonprofit: Jim Nduruchi
. People and blogs: Suzelle DIY
. Pets and animals: Earth Touch
. Top subscribed creator in Uganda: Kansiime Anne
. Top subscribed creator in Ghana: Official Sarkodie
. Top subscribed creator in Kenya: Churchill Show
. Top subscribed creator in Nigeria: Mark Angel Comedy
. Top subscribed creator in Senegal: Prince Arts
. Top subscribed creator in Tanzania: Diamond Platnumz
. Top subscribed creator in Zimbabwe: Mufti Menk
. Top subscribed Nollywood channel: IbakaTV / Nollywood