Bongeka Masango (videographer), Nwabisa Mda (host) and Thembe Mahlaba (host) are one of the most dynamic, innovative content creating YouTube trio, as they take the African continent and the rest of the world by storm with their well-known show ‘Pap Culture’, which focuses on addressing popular youth cultures in South Africa.
Pap Culture, founded in 2015 is a Cape Town based YouTube channel. The channel was created as an entertainment platform that the trio felt was missing on the YouTube platform, especially in South Africa.
Bongeka, the 27-year-old advertising accounts manager and YouTuber on Pap Culture was born and raised in the coastal city of Durban, South Africa before moving to Cape Town to work in media and start the Pap Culture cult along with two her friends Thembe and Nwabisa. “I have had a great time creating content ever since,” she said.
“I think our greatest achievement thus far is getting recognition from various people. When we started we were basically the only ones watching our YouTube videos and now we have a following. I’m always shocked when people recognise me, especially because I’m usually never on camera,” she added.
YouTube is a very competitive space, where everyone is fighting for the short attention span of their followers. However, Bongeka believes that their love of driving conversations online in a relatable way will help push the envelope in content creation.
“As a YouTube collective, we’ve sat down many times to try figure out how to grow Pap Culture and we’ve got a few plans up our sleeve, just wait and see,” she said.
Bongeka cherishes her trio bond and is still focused on creating great content with the Pap Culture family, she is working on being known as a content creator in her own right separate from the trio, although she is still refining her own niche.
“I’m inspired mostly by people who do what they love and are excelling in whatever field they’re in. I like watching people rise and get better and better, especially locals it makes me feel like it’s possible for me to do the same. People like Khanyi Dhlomo, Bonang, Trevor Stuurman, Moshe, Sibu Mpanza etc,” she said.
Bongeka stresses that no matter what is happening in life, whatever you goals are and on the path to success, always remember to have fun along the journey.
“Don’t forget to have fun. I’m generally a reserved person and I’m very comfortable being alone for hours and hours, and I think because of that I might have missed out on a lot of young things. I think I’d tell my younger self not to be stuck in my comfort zone and go out and have fun with other kids, because at the end of it all my life won’t fall to pieces,” she concluded.
Nwabisa the 26-year-old Strategist by day, while living my best life as the content producer and host of the Pap Culture trio, was also born in the coastal of Durban South Africa before growing up in Gauteng to a single mother. Now residing in Cape Town.
Nwabisa describes herself as talkative by nature and an unofficial comedian (“to those who know me best and care to listen” and I tend to agree that she is quite funny). She loves a good long laugh, food and chilling with friends and family. Naturally she very fascinated by media and the entertainment industry, “I hope to one day make an impact on the African continent,” she said.
Nwabisa believes that Pap Culture normalises vocalising all topics. Nothing is off limits, even the cringe, uncomfotable and “taboo” conversations are on the table.
“So we saying, well it’s ok to talk about these things and the more people that join, the merrier. But also for us it’s easy to get comfortable in the cycle of creating because we’ve done it for almost three years now. But we constantly have to ask how can we make the channel better, what conversations can we have that will expand our thinking, who do we need to speak to, to bring a different perspective that’s never been heard before…it’s not being afraid and just giving it a try…shoot your shot and see what happens. We want to be one of SA / Africa’s best / biggest YouTubers. Multi-award winning (hides) content creators putting South Africa on the map from an online content producing perspective,” she said.
Nwabisa said she stays motivated and inspired to reach for her dreams because of her peers that fearlessly going after the things they want.
“Seeing other young people succeed in their careers and really putting themselves on the map through authentic expressions of their creativity. So the likes of Trevor Stuurman, Asanda Sizani, Tony Gum, Miss Milli B, Cedric Nzaka, Austin Malema…the list is endless,” she said.
“It’s so refreshing to see people doing what they love and being recognized for it but also knowing they are not being afraid to stand up for what they believe in and are constantly pushing boundaries and opening doors for other young people who may be doubting themselves but see it’s possible with a lot of hard work, focus, dedication and perseverance,” she continued.
Since there is no step by step guide on how to win at this life thing, Nwabisa said after resolving her confusion of not knowing what she wanted to do in life while she was still in high school she decided to focus on enjoying the ride, believing in her talents, going hard after the things she wants and I guess like most of us, hoping for the best.
“So at 16 I was in grade 11…very confused about the future and what I wanted for my life as a young adult…but I’d probably say “gyel kuzoba mnandi. Yes, you going to go through it a couple times, moments that feel gut-wrenching, like that phase will never pass. But it will and when you make it on the other side, it’s not only going to be worth it but it makes enjoying your happiness and success all the more worth it. You deserve all the best things that life has to offer but you gonna need to work for it Sisi,” Nwabisa concluded.
Thembe believes that Black Girl Magic is Black women period and would rather be on set working on a series or film, where she feels most at home – creating interesting fresh content.
What Thembe loves most about being young is that she still has the chance to make mistakes and learn from them to become better.
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to try and fail, with the support of her family. I still think I have time. I am naive. I still hope for the best in terms of the way the world works, though I’m slowly coming to the realisation that people are selfish and it’s okay. We need to survive at the end of the day,” she said.
Thembe continues to strive to make her parents proud of her and make dope content that gets the people talking, whether it be with her Pap Culture sisters or independently.
We are huge fans of this kick ass and influential trio that are creating, provoking and disseminating various and much needed conversations on our favourite platforms, which land up being discussed and trending at our dinner tables and weekend get togethers. We continue to stan and look forward to more Pap Culture days.