These are the 20 most followed South Africans on Instagram

Boity Thulo
Boity Thulo
Photo: Gallo

Ornico has released their 2020 edition of The South African Social Media Landscape report. The annual report takes an in-depth look at some social network trends and insights.  

In the section titled "All About Celebrity," cricketer AB de Villiers remains the most popular personality in South Africa, followed by Boity Thulo, Minnie Dlamini and Bonang Matheba.

Research was done in collaboration with Brandwatch, YOUKNOW, Psychographica, TGI/Ask Afrika and GlobalWebIndex. You can download the report here


According to the Arthur Goldstuck, MD at World Wide Worx, AB de Villiers remains the most-followed personality in the country on Instagram. He explains that his ranking is largely because of his major popularity in India, where he was one of the most successful batsmen in the Indian Premier League.

"His 9.7 million followers is larger than the total Instagram user base in South Africa, which is estimated at around 9-million."
Arthur Goldstuck, MD, World Wide Worx

The report suggests that a more realistic reflection of South Africans' enthusiasm for local celebrities is shown in the following media personalities.

Boity Thulo is ranked at number two with 3.6 million followers, followed by Minnie Dlamini with 3.5 million followers and sitting at number three is Bonang Matheba who has 3.4 million followers on the photo-sharing app.

  1. AB de Villiers: 9.7 million 
  2. Boity Thulo: 3.6 million  
  3. Minnie Dlamini: 3.5 million
  4. Bonang Matheba: 3.4 million
  5. Cassper Nyovest 3.4 million
  6. Pearl Thusi: 3 million
  7. DJ Zinhle: 3 million
  8. Amanda du Pont: 2.9 million
  9. Nomzamo Mbatha: 2.9 million
  10. Somizi Mhlongo: 2.8 million
  11. AKA: 2.6 million
  12. Black Coffee: 2.5 million
  13. Jessica Nkosi 2.1 million
  14. Thembi Seeti: 1.9 million
  15. Lerato Kganyago: 2 million
  16. Khanya Mkangisa: 1.9 million
  17. Emtee: 1.5 million
  18. Dale Steyn: 1.4 million
  19. Faf du Plessis: 1.1 million
  20. Terry Pheto: 894 000 

-Arthur Goldstuck, MD, World Wide Worx

Speaking to Channel24 Ornico marketing manager, Mongezi Mtati explained the methodologies used saying: "Social media platform numbers and trends are gathered through triangulating users by location from across South Africa, so these statistics are collected from the platforms themselves. In some cases growth is aggregated based on platform growth by country in that year. On Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, data is for 2019 up to December. The numbers are collected annually."

When asked why celebrities Zozibini Tunzi, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Trevor Noah, and Mihlali Ndamase were not included in the list, Mongezi said: "These are statistics up to December 2019 as we research the numbers annually. They fluctuate year-on-year but AB De Villiers tends to be in the lead for about two years. It's hard to say which celebrities are in the lead at a given point, as their follower numbers change depending on media coverage at the time."

He elaborates further, saying: "Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi's followers grew rapidly following her win on the global stage. In recent months Pearl Thusi also saw increased coverage following her leading role in the Netflix series, Queen Sono. Trevor Noah is not included in the numbers because, even though he is South African, he is not based locally and his numbers would be more representative of global than local user behaviour. This remains a growing and evolving list as more and more names come up or are brought to our attention."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24