A guide to South African TikTok

TikTok. One of the biggest social media platforms in the world right now. Love it or hate it, you can’t escape it. And even if you don’t have the app, you would have definitely seen a TikTok video. While the app hasn’t reached the levels of popularity of other countries, it is growing here in South Africa. So we’ve put together a little beginner guide to South African TikTok. 

Firstly to get started, just like Twitter and many other social media platforms, South Africa TikTok has many different sub-cultures. There’s dance TikTok, cooking TikTok, political TikTok and so much more. So if you have any interest, you are likely to find someone that creates content around that. 

The Dance Challenges


Reply to @razeenahwoolf the comments on his videos from South Africans are ELITE. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT @_ehiz

? original sound – Brently Perumal

Another thing is TikTok is so much more than just it’s dance challenges. But there can be no TikTok without dance challenges. While the content on the platform is varied, dance challenges make up a huge part of the app. And of course South Africans are killing it. In fact, people have even tried to steal some moves created by South African TikTok stars. Recently, Ehiz Ufuah, a UK-based creator came under fire for claiming that he created a dance which had actually been created by Thato Mokoena. He has been called out through the comments section and through duet-videos but he still hasn’t apologised. 


How that one rich person in the family dances ??? ! Also what does this song mean I love it ! ##callherthato ##celebraterisingvoices ##richpeopledance

? original sound – Richy Sauce

Oh and in case you’re a TikTok newbie, a duet video is when someone takes your original video and reacts to it or adds on new content. It’s super fun to watch the creative ways people duet videos. But of course there is the nasty side with some people making fun of people’s videos using the duet feature. 

Back to SA TikTok, and dance challenges. South Africans go all out. There’s a popular song/sound called Jalebi Baby by Tasher. Tasher actually made an entire video thanking South African users in particular for making his song go viral on the platform. Imagine the power. 


the love and support coming from ?? has been incredible. thank you! #southafrica #tesher #jalebibaby #jalebi #remix

? Jalebi Baby – Tesher

The wholesome content

TikTok also has some really wholesome content. There’s medical content where doctors and different medical professionals based in South Africa explain different medical concepts. They also use their platform to mythbust – something which is really needed during this pandemic and age of fake news. These doctors and healthcare professionals tackle misinformation which is rife on the platform and other social media in a way which is not condescending but helps people to understand better. 


One reason why I took my vaccine! Here are some of the long-term effects of covid19! ##fightcovid ##covid19 ##educate ##tiktokdoctor ##risingvoices

? Back It Up (Gunshots Remix) – Tik Tok

There’s also gardening TikTok. Can you get more wholesome? There’s a farmer from Ermelo who shows people how to sow sweet potatoes, cabbages and other vegetables. He also answers questions from other users about various questions related to gardening. It makes for such refreshing viewing. 


Planning to plant tomatoes #tiktoksouthafrica #farming #FarmingAndHappy #invest #african #uk

? original sound – Njabulo Yamhlaba Mabaso

The Political/Woke side of TikTok

South Africa is filled with scandals and corruption and so much going on everyday in the political sphere. It’s difficult not to get bogged down with it all. But there are many users who create satirical content around the political goings-on in our country. Then there are also others who create short and informative videos that give incredible insights into what is happening in our country. 


The list is out! #greenscreen #satire #coconutkelz

? original sound – lesego_tlhabi

there’s only so much that you can fit in a 60second video. anyways, have a nice day. ????? #tiktoknews #southafrica

? original sound – Z.

Relatable content

One of the best content creations are those that make you say: “same”! There is a lot about South Africa that is very unique and many TikTok creators have taken advantage of this. They create videos that most people who live in South Africa will be able to relate to from the countless Woolies reusable bags we all collect to the struggles with loadshedding. 


Woolworths bags !! ? #inkandbeards #fyp

? original sound – zeno.za

@kaylo37 @mrsizwe_sir @moghelingz @heyseko @thereal_soso @paballokgware @nchls_b @melansid @hallebberry @khanyisa_jaceni #lxndi #risingvoices

? original sound – lxndi.nkengana

But with all comedy and laughter, there is the cringe and sometimes racist content. 

The Cringe (read racist) content 

Then of course amongst the woke, interesting, educating and fun content, there is also the cringe and kinda (actually quite) racist content. Yes, we’re talking about those creators who think it’s funny to use their domestic workers in their videos – often making jokes at their workers’ expense. Those videos are not funny at all. Even if the domestic workers agreed to make those videos, there is this little concept of power dynamics that exists between employees and employers. In a country like South Africa with our history and existing racial inequalities, those creators should know better. 

There’s also creators who use blaccent or appropriation to get the likes and follows. If your brand of comedy has to rely on making fun of other cultures and people is it even funny? 

Who are some of your favourite TikTok creators from South Africa? Tweet us @thedailyvox and let us know. 

Image by Kon Karampelas from Pixabay