Sibu Mpanza started his vlogging journey in 2014. Since then he has won many awards and has got several opportunities along the way, such as a trip to Mauritius. He talks about how he uses his voice on YouTube to unpack various social issues.
There are plenty of YouTubers in South Africa who have made a name for themselves; Sibu Mpanza is one of them. He is the winner of the first Samsung #Socialstar competition, for which he and two other contestants travelled to Mauritius from 12-16 November 2015.
Born in Mpumalanga, the 21-year-old, who now lives in Cape Town, started vlogging in 2014. “I stumbled on vloggers while watching music videos on YouTube. After a few days’ binge-watching them I knew I had to star on my own channel.”
He started filming himself with a friend’s camera, before getting his own camera for his 20th birthday.
Vloggers, or video bloggers, are people who make personal videos and post them online to YouTube. Many people vlog – or document – their lives; others only concentrate on a certain theme for their channel. Mpanza has more than 2,000 subscribers and over 130,000 views on his channel.
Brand South Africa launched the ‘Play Your Part and Know Your Constitution, Play Your Part and Live Your Constitution’ campaign.
The three-month campaign, which commenced on 1 October 2016, aims to empower people with knowledge and information on their rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. This awareness will be integral to the promotion and advancement of South Africa’s constitutional values.
The interview with Mpanza was done as part of the ‘Play Your Part and Know Your Constitution, Play Your Part and Live Your Constitution’ campaign.
Mpanza speaks about how freedom of expression allows him to talk about social issues that are relevant to him and his peers. He also gives some insight to his life as a vlogger.
MJ: You talk about serious issues such as race, class and perceptions. When and why did you decide to talk about social issues in your YouTube videos?
SM: It honestly came out of nowhere. I study social development and gender studies so I was used to speaking about these issues. YouTube became a way to vent and bring awareness about these issues.
Watch Mpanza talk about why the #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh was not just about hair:
MJ: Tell us how the Constitution is beneficial to you as a young person.
SM: The Constitution, more specifically, the Bill of Rights, plays a role of paramount importance to me. My rights are what keep me safe, they’re what keep me alive, and they have allowed me to have a promising future. That that being said, many South Africans don’t have those rights given to them. It’s beneficial to me, but it should be more inclusive.
Watch Mpanza talk about racial issues:
MJ: Do vloggers have an impact on people? Why do you think so?
SM: I think we do. I think vlogging is incredibly personal. We’re showing you our lives, our personality. Video content tends to be very personal. It makes the viewer feel closer to you.
I think we make people laugh, we make people think. We have a way of taking people away from their reality for that brief five minutes while they’re watching our video.
Watch Mpanza on his trip to Zambia, where he was a facilitator for a photography workshop:
MJ: How often do you collaborate with other vloggers and why?
SM: I try to collaborate as often as I can. I have done more collaborations in the last few months than ever before. Collabs bring the YouTube family together. It gives us a sense of community.
Collaboration is also a great way of increasing your viewership by sharing subscribers with other YouTubers who make content like yours.
Watch Mpanza teach vlogger Suzelle DIY some slang:
MJ: Tell us about some of your collaborations.
SM: I did one with Ich Bin Siv about being queer at university. The most recent one was with a huge local YouTuber, Suzelle DIY. I taught her some new slang words.
Watch Mpanza talk to vlogger Ich Bin Siv about perceptions of being gay at school and university:
MJ: You have spoken about dating white girls as a black man and also about how black mothers are different. What has collaborating with other vloggers taught you, especially with those with cultures different from your own?
SM: Oh no, those are really old videos! I collaborate to learn about others. If I don’t know enough about a certain subject, I’ll either ask someone who does, or bring them in to do the video with me.
Watch Mpanza and his friends talk about their mothers:
MJ: Talk about your accolades, such as being the first Samsung #SocialStar.
SM: I was also the runner up for the Top YouTube channel in Africa in the African Blogger Awards. I was recently nominated for the ‘Most Influential Vlogger’ award at the Student Village Youth Influencer Awards.
I am currently on my way to winning the Cell C #BreakTheNet competition, which is looking for the next South African YouTube sensation.
Watch Mpanza show Cape Town and small business owners where they can go if they do not have an office:
MJ: Would you change if you got a lot of sponsorship or got paid to vlog?
SM: I don’t think I would change. I am constantly evolving and moving forward. You can see that in my work. I have already been working with brands and sponsorships. My audience has reacted very well to it. I think they appreciate the fact that brands have seen my worth as a content creator.
Watch Mpanza and other YouTubers battle it out in a fun competition:
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