Sibu Mpanza is a young Cape Town-based YouTuber doing the most. Two years after uploading his first video, he’s moving steadily towards the 100k views mark for his straight talking approach to issues that matter in South Africa (and the world) right now. He speaks candidly about rape culture and celebrity sexual predators, toxicity in all-boys schools, and why representation matters. He’s got a brilliant sense of humour too, and you’ll often find yourself switch from nodding somberly in agreement to laughing-out-loud in a matter of seconds when you watch his videos.
We got in touch with Sibu to collaborate on the informative clip below, which details exactly how one becomes a famous 20-something YouTuber. Enjoy, and get to know this rising star in the Q&A to follow.
So what got you interested in YouTube? Do you ever cringe when you look back at your first videos?
I had a lot of free time and WiFi on campus, which led to a lot of time on the internet. I remember I was watching YouTube video’s when I stumbled upon a Caspar Lee clip. After that video I started watching more and more of these teens creating content specifically for YouTube. I absolutely loved it, to the point where I wanted to start my own.
I have not watched my first video since the week I uploaded it, I have enough anxiety in my life. Glad I posted it though.
You use your channel to talk about important issues affecting young South Africans today, but there’s always an element of humour. Why do you think this approach makes people more receptive? Has it ever backfired?
I think humour makes people more comfortable. Humour tends to break the ice and make me seem less malicious in my intent. I often don’t beat around a bush and you will know when I talk about a person like you. I wouldn’t say my approach has backfired per se, that would be assuming I didn’t expect opposing or negative comments. With the kind of comments that I post, I expect opposing arguments, otherwise my content would be of no value. I have received my fair share of threats, death threats, to be more specific.
When it comes to creating your content, are any topics off limits?
I wouldn’t say there are any topics that are off limits, although I do make it a rule of thumb that if the perpetuation of that topic is not directly to my detriment, I cannot talk about it unless I am requested to, by someone who is. For example, I am a straight male, and I try not to speak about the issues faced by members of the LGBTQIA community, unless I was requested to or I’d consulted members of that community. Even then, it’s tricky as those individuals don’t speak for the entire population.
Do you think the youth of SA are misunderstood?
I do. I think that we are perfectly understandable, it’s just that the older generations refuse to attempt to understand us. If the past two years have shown anything it’s that there is a lot of anger bubbling under the surface of the ‘rainbow nation’. I think a lot of issues were swept under the rug in post apartheid South Africa in a rushed attempt to be reborn. These discrepancies in justice are now showing and the youth are being painted as these demons who are opening old scars when the scars never really closed, just covered in a pretty black, blue, yellow, green, red and white coloured bandage.
What’s surprised you most about your vlogging journey so far? What sorts of doors has it opened for you?
All the opportunities! I honestly had no clue so many people were going to be interested in what I had to say. I figured it was going to be my friends watching forever. It’s allowed me to follow a career in social media. It’s allowed me to have an incredibly loud voice and a platform to speak about topics I strongly believe in. I was named the runner up for the Top YouTube Channel in Africa by the African Blogger Awards, which has led to companies wanting to work with me on their marketing campaigns. YouTube has also given me the confidence to dream. I often dream of working with well-known YouTubers such as Caspar Lee, The Third Pew and Evelyn From The Internets.
What do you hope people will leave with after watching one of your videos?
I always hope my audience will leave feeling something, whether it’s happiness, anger, indignation or amusement. There’s this infamous word they use to call social media people such as myself, “Influencers”. In all honesty, I do wish to influence. I wish to influence people’s thought processes pertaining to the concepts I talk about each week.
Who are some of your favourite local YouTubers?
Pap Culture (CPT), Anarchadium (JHB), Ich Bin Siv (CPT), Cynthia Gwebu (CPT), Grant Hinds (CPT), Luciano Falzone (JHB), Theo Lee (CPT), Lauren Dixon-Paver (EC)… I could go on and on.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to encourage as many people as possible to create content on YouTube. There is space for everybody and everything. We are the new television and we have this chance to create our own authentic content. So lets do it!