Three opinionated young black women are the trio behind Pap Culture, who have made YouTube their home for addressing issues relevant to young South Africans.
Bongeka Masango (24), Nwabisa Mda (26) and Thembe Mahlaba (23) created the collective in 2015 after long conversations over dinner, during which they realised there was a huge opportunity to create a platform that starts important conversations, as well as for having enormous fun.
“At the time there were few successful South African YouTube channels, especially ones curated by young black women; we felt we had the ability to fill that gap and so the journey began,” they say. “We work tirelessly to be an entertainment platform that’s relevant, relatable, engaging, inclusive and rooted in authentic conversations.
“Often as South Africans we’re all having these open and very uncensored conversations behind closed doors, so as the collective, we wanted to bring these conversations onto a platform that forces us all to really engage and interrogate the world around us, both in good and bad times.”
They’re based in Cape Town, with Mahlaba and Mda as the hosts and Masango as the videographer. Each episode aims to provide fresh and thought-provoking content, leaving viewers with a smile on their faces and sometimes clicking the pause button to enjoy a good long laugh.
“More importantly, we aim to help people interrogate our conversations in their communities, to open up dialogue about the things that matter to young people,” they say.
Their videos are sometimes shot on location to capture events, while a Ride Along slot has a guest join the ladies in a car for an informal chat to get to know the guest and discuss topical issues. In the Pap Culture Reacts slot they answer questions or react to a video, photo or tweets concerning a hot topic.
“We’re smart, and becoming more informed, the more we start talking about current affairs and issues that concern us,” Mahlaba says. “Now we are able to join the political conversation not with an invite, but by forcefully bringing ourselves to the table. We are voting and making our voices heard, trying to keep our government accountable to the promises they are trying to keep or not keeping.
“We are just going out there and doing what we believe is needed for us to live in a better society.”
— Lesley Stones
Twitter/ Instagram: @papculturesa