Meet Sibu Mpanza, a YouTuber/content creator who started his career in 2014 when he was only 20. His YouTube channel Sibu MpanzaSA has amassed over 1,500 000 views.
Mpanza was a student at the University of Cape Town when he uploaded his first video on the popular social media site. He dropped out during the second year because he did not have tuition fees.
The content creator said while he passed his classes when he was studying social development and gender studies, he also skipped classes. He said that is when the idea of being a YouTuber was born.
“I was spending a lot of time at computer labs because I was bunking classes. I found some guys who were talking straight into the camera. I thought it was really cool. I thought, "this is something I could do,” he said.
The content creator started out making skits and comedic stories because that was what he saw as popular at the time.
Mpanza did not have professional editing software when he started his channel and used an application that showed a watermark on his videos. Now he edits with Final Cut Pro. “It used to take me eight hours to edit a five-minute video. Now it takes me two hours to edit a 20-minute video.”
When the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements began, his video topics evolved, and he began to talk about his experiences regarding race issues.
“I went to a predominantly white university, the oldest institution in the country, and so I had a lot of experiences with racism, and that was something I felt like I could talk about,” said Mpanza.
He said he received a lot of criticism over this. “I used to talk about race and gender.”
The content creator said he got himself through that period by keeping in mind why he started the YouTube channel. He said he realised that not every comment would be positive.
Mpanza said he earned more money from advertisers in his channel than the money he generated by the Youtube portal itself. YouTubers can earn money when they have 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours on their channels.
“Depending on the duration of the advertisement, I make between R20 000 to R100 000,” he said.
The YouTuber said, after seven years of being a content creater, he expanded to three other YouTube channels, More Mpanza, Arcade ZA and SIBU GAMING.
On More Mpanza, he shares personal stories and adventures with his business partner, who is also his girlfriend, and friends. Arcade ZA is a joint venture with George Mnguni, another YouTuber popularly known as Okay Wasabi. The pair reviews the latest technological products. SIBU GAMING focuses on all things e-sports and online gaming.
"On More Mpanza, I can make anything from R2000 to R10 000 per month from the YouTube channel,“ he said.
The creator also shares his struggles with anxiety and depression on his channels. He said he sees a therapist weekly from what he earns from on the platform.
“People around me are empathetic and understand what I go through as someone with mental issues,” he said.
Mpanza said he believed the South African African YouTube space is not saturated and hopes others will continue joining the social media site.
"I always tell people to please start their YouTube channels, if there is more of us in the channel, the more we will be visible in mainstream media," he said.
Mpanza said his words of advice to those starting a YouTube to be consistent and love what they do.
"Focus on yourself, do what you love, make sure you enjoy the content that you are creating. That is something that is going to push you through when you feel you're not enough or no one is watching you."