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A case for indigenous language speaking creators

Brands have this obsession to only want to work with established content creators, completely ignoring many who are building a very loyal following on various platforms. Personally, I think curating content is not just about posting aesthetically pleasing photos or videos for followers to marvel at, but rather, a story needs to be told.
Njongo Mato
Njongo Mato
Thanks to the internet, apps like TikTok have led to the explosion of video content and with that, many creators who speak indigenous languages have found a platform to express themselves and reach new audiences.

Although creating in English caters to mainstream audiences, there are many nuances that come with indigenous languages English will never be able to capture.
Therefore, I feel brands should take a chance on those who create in indigenous languages. In a time when traditional media is dying, these individuals present a creative and funny way for messages to reach markets where it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

The following are three examples of creators I have noticed in the last couple of months. They are isiXhosa speaking from the Eastern Cape, which is a region I have had trouble reaching through traditional media in previous experiences.

Khanyisa Madubula

I recently discovered Khanyisa’s content, and she makes hilarious videos parodying the ups and downs of South African life. Her DIY production style is simple, but her content is where the magic is. Her skit on the situation at government clinics following the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine is one of my favourites!

In the skit, she captures the equally frustrating and humorous way nurses deal with patients seeking to get vaccinated. By delivering the skit in isiXhosa, the joke lands effectively and is extremely relatable to her audience. The engagement on this one video alone is evidence of that.

Follow Khanyisa on Twitter: @Khanyisa_MD and on Instagram.

Ayabonga “The Xhosa Men Spokesperson” Kekana

I came across this creator’s content via a WhatsApp group. His style is a parody of a spokesperson commenting on several social issues – like what we would see on TV news. He makes his points in isiXhosa and in a vernacular that Xhosa people – especially men – can relate to.

One of his most recent (sponsored) videos is parody of a news segment, where he cautions men (or iidyan as they are affectionately known in the vernacular) against frivolous spending on events such as Valentine’s Day. Rather take that money and use it on more important things like funeral cover and providing essential items for your household, the Xhosa Men Spokesperson argues.

Follow Ayabonga on Twitter: @Ayabonga_Kekana and YouTube.

Khanyisa Jaceni

Khanyisa is a content creator and a music artist. I came across one of her videos on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, shortly after the most recent alcohol ban had been lifted. In this hilarious skit, she pulls out her bank card, excited to go buy her favorite beverage from the store. Before she can even leave her room, her bank card sternly reprimands her in isiXhosa (the same way Xhosa mothers normally would when it comes to money), reminding her that there are no funds available for this pursuit.

What makes this skit so relatable is the fact that many of us who grew up in black households have experienced such moments with our mothers.

Khanyisa also uses her talent as a singer to do Xhosa covers of popular songs on YouTube. These are also worth checking out.

Follow Khanyisa on Twitter: @khanyisa95 and YouTube.

Look, it is all well and good throwing money at a macro-influencer to post a photo or short video of them showcasing your product. However, these days audiences have begun to see through this practice and those posts come across as disingenuous.

In fact, the influencer is more likely to be praised for “securing the bag” rather than people engaging about the product.
Brands need to be brave and take a chance on creators like the ones mentioned above. Allow them to tell stories that resonate with their audience and most importantly, let them have fun doing it. There is nothing to lose!

About Njongo Mato

Njongo Mato is a Public Relations practitioner with five years industry experience. He has worked at agencies in client service with a strong focus in the finance industry. He is passionate about storytelling, relationship building, strategic communications and content strategy. Through constant learning, trend observation and general content consumption, he has developed an interest in commentary on various PR and Marketing issues.

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