With close to 8 000 subscribers on YouTube, an infectious sense of humour and a straight-talking approach to millennial issues, 23-year-old Capetonian Sibu Mpanza is fast becoming the biggest online sensation Mzansi
has seen yet.
MAN WITH A PLAN
In 2014, Sibu was a student at the University of Cape Town (UCT) with, as he says, ‘A lot of free time and limitless WiFi.’ After messing around on the internet one day, he found himself falling down a YouTube rabbit hole of vlogs by popular teens, including SA YouTuber Caspar Lee, who was just garnering his own following of fans at the time. ‘I realised that there is this whole community of people who talk to cameras and who I can identify with – it feels so homely because you feel like you are right there in their room. And I wanted to be in on that,’ he says. Two weeks later,
he decided to create his own channel with the basic equipment he had at the time. Now, three years later, Sibu Mpanza is a familiar name to the South African YouTube community and, as his bio puts it, he’s ‘a YouTuber who likes to scratch a little further than the surface’.
Sibu covers a broad range of topics in his vlogs, from getting down to the nitty-gritty of racism, cultural appropriation and rape culture to dishing out self-care advice, budgeting tips and even ways to land your crush. When asked how he comes up with content for his channel, Sibu says that his exposure to social development and gender studies while studying meant that it was constantly front of mind – YouTube became a way to vent and bring awareness about these issues. He admits, ‘I’m most passionate about social and political issues such as race, class and gender, but to be honest, South African content writes itself.’
YOUNG AND GIFTED
By the end of 2016, Sibu’s online career started taking
hold and, eventually, he made the decision to drop out of his degree at UCT. The young vlogger admits that his parents initially weren’t very supportive of this dramatic career change, saying, ‘They didn’t take it seriously, as they wanted me
to get a degree. But now my mom is behind me 100%.’
Sibu’s fame has taken him
to places he never dreamt of visiting, including the holiday island of Mauritius, where he was crowned the first Samsung Social Star in 2015.
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