There are only a few weeks left to enter the DStv Content Creator Awards and people, influencers, brands and agencies who have made thumb-stopping content are encouraged to submit their work before the official deadline on 10 July 2022.
As more and more creators make a name for themselves in the space, some of the most influential content creators in South Africa right now unpack their journey so far and share why it’s finally time for their work to be recognised.
As a leading B-Girl, choreographer, DJ and media personality, Courtnaé Paul already had a significant following thanks to her incredible skills on the dancefloor. Today, the creator has amassed over 170,000 followers on TikTok alone.
Courtnaé’s feel-good content and smooth moves have made her a stand-out creator who used her passion for dance to connect with audiences around the globe. Courtnaé admits that the pandemic inspired her to take her social content to the next level.
“As an entertainer, choreographer and DJ, I’ve always been in the business of creating content whether for live consumption or commercial, however, I think lockdown pushed me to see content creation in a different light. It forced me to polish the skill set, off set, for a smaller screen and wider audience,” she says adding that she spends a lot of time and care crafting her content.
“I don’t wake up each day with the intention of being average, so I’m proud of all the content that I put out, because I know I did the best I could at that moment. I am most proud of the content that forces me to dig deep physically and/or emotionally, I like feeling like I jumped a little higher, or spoke a little more honestly than the last. This is why I am really excited about the DStv Content Creator Awards. Besides it being a great platform for your work to get noticed, it’s a great form of validation. Sometimes you have great content, with limited reach, and platforms like this can only assist in taking it further.”
For 21-year-old Aaron Perry, his love of pop culture helped him carve out a career in content creation. “I have always been a creative kid and I was often dancing to and creating music videos with my sister on our iPads,” Aaron shares. “I started creating content when I was 15 years old by making lip-sync videos on an app called musical.ly.”
Today, Aaron injects his infectious personality into trending dance videos and has become a champion for the LGBTQ+ community by showcasing his sweet relationship with his boyfriend Christiaan through his content, however, he doesn’t like to put himself in a box.
“I am a creative that doesn’t tend to fit one niche and I have come to realize that this isn’t an issue at all. I gravitate to the following different types of content creation.” This is why he is thrilled that the first DStv Content Creator Awards is taking place this year. “This opens a whole new platform to showcase the talent that content creators bring. I, as a content creator, can finally be seen for all the years of hard work and dedication to content creation.”
For Bontle Modiselle, using social media is one way she has managed to take her career as an actress, television presenter, radio personality, dancer, choreographer, singer and model to new heights. However, Bontle has been creating content specifically for her social platforms since 2007.
“I’ve been on various digital platforms from around 2007, starting on Facebook. I would gradually over the years record dance videos of myself and post them online, but very spontaneously,” Bontle explains. “As I continued, my social media following and the interest in my offering grew and I started posting more consistently.”
As a content creator, Bontle adds that she is thrilled that creators are finally being taken seriously in South Africa. “The DStv Content Creator Awards affirms the importance and the value of creating, the value of artists and creatives (both on-screen and those behind the scenes), giving others the confidence to be brave enough to believe in the ideas they have and find value in seeing them through.”
She adds “It’s always great for business to have accolades and achievements attached to your name and work but more so for those who you influence and impact to create safer spaces for art and the expression of it to exist.”
For 29-year-old Ndivhuwo Muhanelwa, known by his social media name nochill_god, using his background in social media helped him become a phenomenon online. Rising to fame with his videos ‘meeting’ celebrities like Doja Cat, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj. Today, he has amassed a large online following thanks to his hilarious skits and memes.
“It was all about the passion for making people happy. I have always been passionate about making other people laugh, and also educating whatever that I think is valuable. Entertaining and educating others is something that made me start creating my content,” Ndivhuwo says.
“I started by creating memes as nochillinmzansi, and it went well I even grew my Instagram and Facebook pages to 500k followers and 890k followers respectively. I then switched to videos and started using videos of celebrities to create the best content in SA and in the world. It all started with a passion.”
For him, he’s excited that content creators are starting to be taken seriously. “As content creators in South Africa, we are not as appreciated and recognized as we should be,” he explains. “So the DStv Content Creator Awards, to me, means that we are now being recognised and appreciated for the effort that we put to entertain people. Since content creators are personal brands, this will also boost our self-esteem and motivate us to keep going, and also open opportunities for us to get brand collaborations and also new audiences.”
For 24-year-old party animal Jenna Berkowitz, sharing the shenanigans of her life as a young Jewish girl in Johannesburg opened up endless content-making opportunities. The creator, who posts under her alter ego Jenna Babez, has audiences in stitches as she shares her everyday musings as she showcases her love for the jol, her overprotective parents and her overall love for her religion.
However, Jenna’s content creation started “by accident.” She explains “I’ve always loved filming and making videos but I never considered it ‘content creation.’ My journey officially started while I was travelling on my gap year around London back in 2020. I started the @jennababez_ Instagram page as a ‘finsta’ account. It was more of a joke to keep up with my friends and document my daily travels! I never thought it would amount to what it is today, but I’m so happy it did because I absolutely love it.”
The pandemic forced her to come home early and that’s when she started documenting her life in Johannesburg. “As a Jewish girl, growing up in Johannesburg with my very own Joburg Jewish Mom – my niche was at my fingertips. The Johannesburg Jewish community is a very tight-knit and close community so I already had a niche to begin with when I started the Joburg Jewish mom skit.”
Jenna adds she was inspired by A Girl Named Cassidy to push her content further. “I had watched a TikTok of someone doing the Constantia mom skit, and I thought “omg, but how perfect would it be to mock the Joburg Jewish moms?? There is SOOO much content from them!”
Jenna adds that content creators have become so valuable in social media today which is why she is excited about the upcoming DStv Content Creator Awards. “It places value on content creators that lets us be taken seriously for the work we do. It highlights the importance of creators and brilliant content for businesses to market themselves too!” she says.
For dancer Chad Jones, expressing himself through dance is something he has always been extremely passionate about. With the rise of TikTok and its various dance trends, Chad blended his love for dance with his passion for South African music to create content that brings a smile to the faces of those who watch his videos.
“When our country was put under Lockdown Level 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was scrolling through videos on Facebook and noticed videos with the TikTok watermark. I decided to find out what this platform was about and I saw some cool, trendy and catchy dances that I thought I could do with my mom and dad. So, I asked them to join me. Initially, they refused but I had finally convinced them that I had 0 followers and the only people that would see it was me. That is how it all started.”
Today, Chad has over 1.4 million followers on the platform and his parents still feature in his clips. “An award platform for content creation is a step in the right direction as for a lot of us content creators, creating content has also become a career and business,” Chad says of the upcoming DStv Content Creator Awards. “It’s awesome to hand out a few accolades to our fellow creators who have worked hard to entertain, provide insight and help people who follow and look up to them.”
Entries for the inaugural DStv Content Creator Awards close on 10 July 2022. Visit http://www.contentcreatorawards.co.za to register and enter one – or several – of the categories.