Our Top South African YouTube Channels
No doubt about it, we have some great talent among the denizens of Mzansi. And some of these entertaining people have made YouTube their home, so we can all enjoy the shenanigans on their channel from the comfort of our own homes, or on the go on our mobiles. Some of the most popular channels are exclusively humorous in nature – and who doesn’t need a good laugh in these tough times? So let’s look at a few Saffers who’ve made good (and sometimes made us laugh) on YouTube. We’ve included a few who are numerically at the top of the pile, but also want to showcase a good mix of what’s on offer. Whether you need a good giggle, a recipe, some exercise or a wildlife experience from your couch, we’ve got you covered.
Probably one of the most familiar household names in entertainment, Trevor Noah made his name as a television host and stand-up comic, and still plies his trade in this format, playing to audiences in South Africa as well as in places from London to Dubai, Toronto, Las Vegas and elsewhere in the world. He has a huge audience as host for Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’, a satirical take on political events, where Donald Trump gave him lots of material over the past four years.
Noah’s YouTube Comedy Central channel has over 9 million subscribers and features clips from his many stand-up comedy shows. His subject matter is amazingly diverse, from pilots keeping calm while everyone on a flight is thinking they’re going to die, to New Yorkers shouting at cab drivers for nearly running them over, to the manners and habits of South Africans from all walks of life, to how Unicef gives the impression that all Africans are starving. Often, not always, there’s an underlying message in his comedy; one comment notes “He has a strong social and political message that hits you deeply when you pay close attention to what he's saying.” Making people laugh loud and long, it’s no surprise that Trevor Noah’s channel has a massive following.
Derek Watts & The Sunday Blues
Nic Smal & Gareth Allison are Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues, a comedy duo from Cape Town, South Africa, with producer/DOP Darren Wertheim. Their YouTube channel features a wide range of comedic material, including hilarious parody music videos with titles such as Don’t Be So White, Movember and The Car Guard Song (the last parodying Eminem ft. Rihanna). Their bulldog Banjoe also stars in some of their videos.
The duo have put together a series of animated videos (created by Nic) featuring Hippo and Croc, who parody human foibles. They also put together funny clips of famous people with imaginative lip syncing, such as Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg. Altogether a great channel with high entertainment value.
Suzelle is actually Julia Anastasopoulos, an award-winning South African actress, designer, artist, and illustrator. Her character Suzelle soon became an internet icon after launching in 2014. Suzelle is an over-the-top Afrikaans ‘poppie’, with some quite over-the-top ideas for cooking, making things and other general DIY tips and projects. She is always accompanied by her friend and longsuffering helper, Marianne, who never utters a word.
The videos are meant to be funny, as Suzelle comes up with bright (and sometimes a bit outlandish) ideas for things to make. For example, she ropes in an elderly Japanese sushi chef to make ‘Boere sushi’, which uses boerewors and pap instead of rice and fish, with chutney as the dipping sauce. Whether it’s homemade pet toys, cable tie hacks, or how to make a patio swing out of a pallet, bubbly Suzelle in her quirky outfits and her silent sidekick are guaranteed to offer fun entertainment, some good tips and a smile.
The Kiffness, formed by David Scott in 2011, is Cape Town-based act that produces electronic house music with a jazzy, upbeat vibes. Scott, together with current band members Raiven Hunter and Mathew Gold have performed at various music events around the country as well as at gigs in the Seychelles, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Vietnam.
Scott is really the face of The Kiffness, as he runs the social media pages and stars in the song parody videos that are widely enjoyed and shared. The subject matter for the past year has most often been about the lockdown and coronavirus, such as making pineapple beer and banana bread, curfew and being bored, but he also focuses on current events, the latest being the new and unpronounceable (for white people anyway) name proposal for Port Elizabeth.
Kruger Sightings has over 2 million subscribers, and is one of the most-watched in South Africa and beyond. Videos are uploaded by tourists who’ve recorded extraordinary sightings of wildlife interactions in the Kruger National Park. Many of the videos are not suitable for those who are faint of heart, as you get to see ‘nature red in tooth and claw’.
For those with stronger nerves, the viewing is really exciting, although it often ends badly for at least one of the animals. But not always. There’s a bit of wild sex, and some of the videos capture cute baby animals, while others show some uncomfortably close encounters between the watchers and the watched.
Of course, there had to be a fitness channel in the lineup, as so many people are obsessed with health and fitness. Peter Carvell is the face of Sixpack Factory, which is aimed at men wanting to lose weight and sculpt their bodies into shape through diet and strenuous exercise. He is living proof that it works, as he lost nearly 50kg and has a ripped physique.
With over 1,4 million subscribers, he seems to be onto a good thing. His videos demonstrate home workouts for various parts of the body, using one’s own body weight instead of expensive equipment. He also offers paid downloads of exercise manuals and recipe books. So get off the couch guys, and you too could have a body like his!
Die Antwoord is a hi-hop group from Cape Town that has made a name for itself both in South Africa and internationally. The group comprises rappers Watkin Tudor Jones ("Ninja") and Anri du Toit ("Yolandi Visser") and producers HITEK5000 and Lil2Hood. Currently their channel has 3.4 millions subscribers and counting.
Their music videos (and lyrics) have pushed the boundaries in terms of profanity and being pretty out there, so may not appeal to ‘the general public’ at large, but they certainly have a huge fan base. Whatever you may think of their breaking taboos and thug life attitude, the videos are highly imaginative with world-class production values and are in themselves mini-movies.
The channel also features some hilarious badly behaved interviews with television media and some video blogs of the two discussing various topics.
Foodies of South Africa
Who doesn’t love (or need) food, glorious food? This is a great channel with hundreds of great and easy recipes, demonstrated in short videos with the full recipes and instructions below above the comment sections. From hot cross bun cookies to Amarula fudge to pepper steak pies to “braai slaais” to cheesy pap and boerie loaf to orange rooibos koeksisters, this channel has loads of great ideas for meals, lunchbox snacks, desserts, cakes and other sweet things.
What’s great is that many recipes use very South African ingredients like Nesquik, Aromat, biltong etc. If you’ve run out of ideas in the kitchen, this channel has some really tasty and unusual recipes that will score you points at your next braai or dinner party.
All these great channels (and more) show that there’s no need to look further than our own country for top quality entertainment and cool info. Happy YouTubing!