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South African YouTube Stars

18 February 2014, 14:14

South African YouTube stars

In recent news a young local beauty was hand-picked to participate in a competition run by Ryan Seacrest where fans had to choose the best YouTube cover of One Direction’s hit single, ‘story of my life’. The young star was among 26 candidates, all hailing from different parts of the world and each with their own amazing voices added to the line-up.

It’s clear after listening to the 18-year-old’s rendition of the song why she won. Filipa’s sultry voice practically falls like silk onto your eardrums as she sings effortlessly to the slow melody of the song and by the end of the three minute video you’ll find yourself unable to not fall in love with her and her old-school style.

I find it greatly inspiring to watch as local artists make themselves internationally known and prove to the world ‘out there’ that our African soil have more than wildlife to offer as enjoyable past times.

Of course in my opinion, the win isn't just one of international exposure. As Filipa’s popularity grows so does the awareness for other ambitious South Africans who are made conscious of the fact the YouTube is not only an American platform for budding creative minds, but also a place where South Africans are actually making a name for themselves. Take Casper Lee for example, as he currently holds both first and second place on the most subscribed channel for South African YouTubers.

With individuals garnering as much as one million subscribers, to other channels scoring approximately a hundred and forty five million views, you have to wonder how more people aren't taking to a camera and joining the growing community.


American youths and other global entrepreneurs have proven that YouTube can be a place of self-employment as well as freedom of expression and have been capitalizing of the social platform for years, so why can’t we do it?

Despite the overall assumption that hovers over South Africans, it can’t be ignored that we have access to the tools that could change our lives just as it has for millions of others around the world, some who have way less access than us and are more restricted in the content they are allowed to view, never mind make.

Though research shows increased participation of South Africans, since 2012 on the social platform that is YouTube, I can’t help but wonder how long will it take for more stars like Filipa and Casper to enter the game and start competing with the likes of YouTube personalities Ryan Higa, Ray William Johnson and Jenna Marbles to film-makers such as WongFu Productions, Casey Neistat and the duo Freddy Wong and Brandon Laatsch. Maybe they even challenge the channels of performers like Justin Bieber, Boyce Avenue, Jayesslee and Sam Tsui. The opportunities are endless, especially when taking into account that YouTube allows for a diverse variety of content.

This kind of open opportunity makes unemployment almost seem more like a lazy choice than anything else as you watch those willing to work and use whatever talents they have to make it big. Of course that isn't always the case for everyone, I still feel it applies to anybody not determined enough to at least try something other than sitting around and complaining how the government is screwing them over.

Yes, they are but how is that news any more?

Our Society needs people to start stepping up and maybe showing the government, and the world in general, that we as South Africans actually mean business and are willing to do something about it.

The education system may or may not be failing us, but a talent isn't just about waiting to be taught something, rather it’s about going forward and grabbing that knowledge any which way you can and maybe even building on what’s there already.

And our society has no shortage of talent, after all, there must be some sparks of genius with all the stories we get told by the media each day, surely we could take them, or make our own and be creative with it. What’s the worst that could happen? You get one view?

Well isn't that just one more ‘plus’ than you began with? And even then, hasn't our own officials and President taught us that even bad publicity is publicity in any case!

All that’s left now are for the ambitious individuals to reach for the nearest camera and start something, be it a conversation, a song or even a debate.

While we wait for that, we can be further inspired by our current stars and their progress. Hopefully Filipa and those behind her will give the right amount of push to all the idle creators just waiting to be discovered.

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